It sounds so simple. With the push of a button, smoke, steam and smells simply vanish while you’re cooking your feast. Beneath its elegant design, a quality range hood relies on solid engineering and multiple components to get the job done. Here’s an overview.

The Fan in Your Range Hood Draws in the Air .

Your range hood uses an electric motor—maybe two, in the case of a high-performance dual-motor model—to make the blades of a fan turn at very high speed. The resulting vortex draws in the grease, moisture, smoke and airborne particles into the appliance, much like the propellers on a plane.

The faster a fan turns, the greater the volume of air that can be drawn through the range hood. This capacity is calculated in cubic feet per minute (CFM). For example, a 200 CFM range hood performs better than a 150 CFM model.

A Filter Traps Grease and Dirt

Once drawn in, the coarse particles become trapped in a filter, which acts as a first line of defence to avoid clogging the rest of the equipment and ductwork.

  • In the case of a vented range hood, this aluminum or stainless steel filter can be removed for easy cleaning. Depending on your cooking habits, wash it in hot soapy water or in the dishwasher at least every two to three months, or according to the manufacturer’s cleaning reminder option.
  • A ductless range hood (or recirculating range hood) instead uses a charcoal filter to trap dirt and smells. Since this filter is neither washable nor reusable, it must be replaced every two to three months—more if you cook a lot. This kind of range hood usually performs very poorly, which is why we don’t make any!

Your Range Hood Expels the Air Through a Duct or Recirculates It Into the Room

Where does the air and fine particles that slip through the filter end up? This depends on the type of range hood:

  • A vented range hood is connected to a smooth metal exhaust duct that expels the air from your home. For maximum efficiency, this duct should be as direct and straight as possible, avoiding curves. A larger diameter duct can handle a larger volume of air. Depending on your cooking habits, consider occasionally hiring a professional duct cleaning service to remove grease and dirt that naturally build up over time.
  • If you live in an apartment or a condo where installing a duct isn’t possible, you’ll have to make do with ventless range hood. Such a unit only recirculates the air back into the room… along with the dirt that the charcoal filter failed to catch.

Other Qualities of a Range Hood

Beyond its primary role, your range hood performs other functions. Its lighting (preferably LED, which is more energy efficient and durable) allows you to better see what you’re cooking—essential for getting a steak just right or preparing sauces. Depending on the model you choose, it can also become a key design element in your kitchen. For example, by choosing a decorative range hood featuring a large stainless steel chimney, or a matte black cylindrical range hood with a sleek look.