Sones Rating & Noise Levels for Range Hoods

Last Updated: 2/20/2024

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

When shopping for a range hood, one of the key factors you'll consider is how loud it is. Nobody wants a jet engine roaring in their kitchen when they're cooking. That's where understanding the sones rating and noise levels for range hoods comes into play.

This blog will get into the nitty-gritty of sones ratings, deciphering the difference between sones and decibels, exploring how various factors affect a range hood's sone level, and ultimately guiding you to understand what makes a range hood quietly efficient.

As we dissect what sones mean in the context of range hoods, from how many sones are considered quiet to the impact of CFM on noise levels, the goal is clear: to equip you with the knowledge to choose a range hood that whispers rather than roars. In your search for a quiet range hood, Fotile emerges and offers innovative range hoods that feature powerful ventilation without disruptive noises.

Shop Fotile’s collection of range hoods today and find the one that achieves the ideal balance of silence and efficiency in your kitchen.

What is the Difference Between Sones & Decibels?

Decibels (dB) are a unit of measurement that quantifies the intensity or power of a sound on a logarithmic scale. This means that a small increase in decibel rating represents a significant increase in noise intensity.

For example, the sound of a whisper is around 30 dB, normal conversation is about 60 dB, and a lawnmower operates at around 90 dB. The scale is not linear; for instance, a sound at 70 dB is ten times louder than a sound at 60 dB and 100 times louder than a sound at 50 dB.

Unlike decibels, sones are a linear unit of measurement that describes the perceived loudness of sound to the human ear. This makes sones a more user-friendly way to gauge how loud a range hood will be during operation. One sone is roughly equivalent to the sound of a quiet refrigerator running in a quiet kitchen, which is generally about 28 to 32 dB.

A range hood that operates at two sones would be perceived as twice as loud as one at one sone, comparable to a quiet office environment or soft music playing in the background, which usually falls around 40 to 48 dB. This is comfortable for a kitchen environment where you might be entertaining guests or engaging in family activities. In contrast, a range hood with a higher sone rating, say nine to ten sones, would be comparable to the noise level of a busy street or a vacuum cleaner, which could become intrusive over time.

What Are Sones Ratings for Range Hoods?

 The lower the sone rating, the quieter the range hood operates. For example, a range hood that operates at one sone is incredibly quiet, creating an ambiance similar to that of a refrigerator humming in a quiet kitchen.

On the other hand, range hoods with higher sone ratings can be noticeably louder, impacting the overall atmosphere of the kitchen. For context, a 2-sone range hood is equivalent to a quiet office environment, still quite gentle on the ears, making it suitable for kitchens where noise sensitivity is a concern.

How Does CFM Affect a Range Hood’s Sone Rating?

CFM, standing for cubic feet per minute, is a measure of the volume of air that a range hood can ventilate from your kitchen in one minute. It's an indicator of the range hood's power and efficiency in clearing smoke, steam, and odors. Typically, a higher CFM rating indicates a more powerful ventilation capability, which is essential for heavy cooking with a lot of smoke or odors.

However, there's often a correlation between a range hood's CFM and its sone rating: as the CFM increases, the sone rating may also rise, suggesting a louder operation noise due to the higher air movement. Despite this general trend, advancements in kitchen appliance design and technology have paved the way for high-CFM range hoods that do not compromise on noise levels.

Fotile, for example, employs innovative solutions to this challenge, incorporating quiet operation technologies into their high-CFM models. These range hoods utilize strategic design elements like sound insulation, advanced motor technologies, and aerodynamic designs to reduce noise without sacrificing ventilation power. For instance, a Fotile range hood equipped with a 600 CFM rating might still maintain a low sone rating of around 2 to 3, providing powerful ventilation with the exhaust fan creating minimal noise disruption.

What Affects a Range Hood’s Noise Level?

The noise level of a range hood is not solely dependent on its sone rating. Several external factors play critical roles in determining the actual noise you experience in your kitchen, including where you install the range hood and the range hood’s size. Understanding these factors can help you make an informed decision when selecting and installing a range hood.

Place of Installation

The installation location significantly influences the noise level of a range hood. For instance, cabinet range hoods installed without ductwork directly under a cabinet may sound louder due to sound reflection off the cabinetry surfaces, amplifying the noise they generate. Conversely, open installations where the range hood hangs freely with minimal surrounding surfaces can help minimize sound reflection, potentially reducing the perceived noise level.

The ductwork associated with venting the range hood can also impact noise levels. Longer duct runs, sharp bends, and narrow duct diameters can increase resistance and turbulence in airflow, thus elevating noise levels. Professional installation for ducted range hoods that considers the most efficient ducting path and minimizes airflow restrictions can mitigate noise amplifications.

Size of Range Hood

Commonly, it's assumed that the larger the range hood, the louder it will be due to the larger fans required to move air efficiently. While this can be true, advanced engineering and design innovations can offset the noise increase.

This is why range hoods are created with efficiency in mind, employing larger but quieter fans that move air more effectively at lower speeds to reduce noise without sacrificing performance. Because of this, even larger models designed to cover more extensive cooking surfaces or professional-grade ranges can operate quietly to ensure your kitchen remains a peaceful space.

Range Hood Features

Innovative range hoods come equipped with a variety of features that can influence their noise levels. One of the most significant is variable speed settings. These allow users to adjust the fan speed according to their current cooking needs. Lower speeds are sufficient for simmering or steaming, significantly reducing noise levels compared to full-power operation needed for high-heat frying or searing.

Some range hoods also feature sound insulation materials that absorb vibrations and reduce noise. Additionally, models with delayed shut-off features continue to vent the kitchen at a lower, quieter speed after cooking, further enhancing the kitchen environment post-use. Innovative designs, such as those from Fotile, offer versatile, high-performance ventilation solutions that cater to the modern homeowner's desire for quiet operation.

Is 3 / 5 / 7 Sones Loud for a Range Hood?

When considering the factors that affect noise levels for range hoods, it's good to contextualize what these figures mean in a real-world setting. A range hood operating at three sones is comparable to the ambient sound level of a quiet office or a bathroom fan operating. This noise level is noticeable but not intrusive, allowing for normal conversation and kitchen activities without significant disruption.

As the sone rating increases to 5, the noise level is akin to that of a busy restaurant. This environment is characterized by a constant buzz of activity and conversation, which some might find too loud for comfort if sustained over long periods. However, during intensive cooking sessions that produce a lot of smoke or odors, a range hood with this level of power and, consequently, higher noise might be necessary to maintain air quality.

Moving up with more noise to 7 sones, the sone levels approach that of highway traffic, a continuous and considerable background noise. While this might seem high for a kitchen appliance, in large spaces or commercial kitchens where high-volume cooking is the norm, such powerful extraction might be required. In these instances, the priority is often more on the hood's ability to vent smoke and odors efficiently rather than on maintaining a low sound level.

How Many Sones is a Quiet Range Hood?

A quiet range hood is a must-have for any homeowner looking to maintain a peaceful kitchen atmosphere, especially in open-plan homes where kitchen sounds can easily permeate living spaces. Typically, range hoods with a sone rating of 1 or 2 are categorized as quiet, blending seamlessly into the background noise of a home.

This level of noise is comparable to the gentle hum of a refrigerator or the soft murmur of a quiet library, subtle enough to hardly be noticed during daily activities. Such quiet operation ensures that conversations, listening to music, or simply enjoying the quiet of your home can continue uninterrupted, even during heavy cooking sessions.

Why Should You Consider Sone Ratings in Your Range Hood?

Considering the sone ratings of range hoods is essential for maintaining a serene atmosphere in your kitchen, the heart of your home. A quiet range hood minimizes noise pollution, allowing your kitchen to remain a peaceful area for cooking and socializing. This is especially crucial in open-plan homes where kitchen noise can easily affect other living spaces.

Choosing a range hood with a low sone rating enhances the cooking experience but also supports a healthier lifestyle by reducing stress associated with loud noises. It encourages more home-cooked meals and family gatherings without the distraction of a noisy appliance. Ultimately, a low-sone range hood is an investment in the comfort and well-being of your home environment.

Get a Quiet But Powerful Range Hood From Fotile

Embracing the art of quiet cooking without sacrificing power is no longer a distant dream, thanks to Fotile's innovative range hoods. Fotile's lineup, including the Pixie Air Series and Slant Vent Series, is designed to address any disruptive kitchen noises with a serene yet efficient solution to ventilation. By integrating advanced technology to achieve low sone ratings while maintaining high-performance air extraction, Fotile ensures that your kitchen remains a tranquil haven for culinary exploration and family gatherings.

Shop Fotile’s range hood collection today to get the quiet but powerful kitchen appliance you need.