Kitchen with green cabinets

Ducted vs. ductless range hoods: which one to buy?

Range hoods are an essential appliance for any kitchen, as they help to clear the air of smoke and fumes while you're cooking for your family. When buying a new range hood, it is important to understand the differences between ducted and ductless range hoods so you can find the right option for your home. Use this article as a guide to learn more about ducted and ductless range hoods so you can get started on your shopping journey.

What is a ducted range hood?

A ducted range hood is an external ventilation system that must be connected to a duct in your wall, ceiling or floor in order to work. It helps to clear smoke, odors and grease from the air in your kitchen, venting outside your home. These range hoods are a great fit for homes located in more humid climates.

How does a ducted range hood work?

A ducted range hood works by using a fan and an external vent to suck up smoke and fumes from your kitchen while you're cooking. The exhaust is then pushed through ductwork and out of your home, keeping your kitchen air clear of smoke and odors that happen while cooking.

What is a ductless range hood?

A ductless range hood is a ventilation system that does not require ductwork to be installed in your home as they filter smoke and odors instead of removing them completely. Because they don’t require any ductwork, these range hoods are great for kitchens in a variety of layouts.

These hoods provide flexibility in their installation but do require filter maintenance at least two times a year.

Do I need a vent over my stove?

Depending on where you live, there may be different codes and requirements so it’s always best to check. Though you may not be required to install a hood over your stove, it is generally recommended for the best cooking experience. Without one, smoke and fumes may build up in your kitchen. Range hoods also help to reduce heat and moisture while cooking so you may not even break a sweat when cooking dinner for your family.

Does a ductless range hood need to be vented?

No, a ductless range hood does not need to be vented. It can be placed nearly anywhere in your kitchen and filters the air instead of directing it out of the kitchen. However, it is important to note that a ductless range hood may not remove smoke and fumes from your home like a ducted range hood will.

Does CFM matter for a ductless range hood?

CFM stands for cubic feet per minute and is a measure of how powerful a range hood's ventilation system is. Ductless range hoods don’t need as high of a CFM as ducted hoods as they don’t need to push air through lengthy ductwork.

Can I convert a ducted range hood to ductless?

Yes, you can convert a ducted range hood to ductless with the help of a recirculating kit. This kit typically consists of a stainless steel vent and charcoal filters, which install on top of your range hood to vent or recirculate air back into your kitchen.

Some range hoods, like this option from Whirlpool brand, have convertible venting systems so you can choose whether the hood vents externally or via recirculation.

How do I know if I have a ducted or ductless range hood?

There are a few ways to tell if you have a ducted or ductless range hood. The easiest way is to see if ductwork has been installed in your kitchen. Ductless hoods don’t require any additional ventilation systems, so you wouldn’t find duct work installed with a ductless vent.

Another way to tell the difference is by checking the CFM rating on your range hood. A higher CFM rating typically indicates that your vent is ducted.

Explore Whirlpool® range hoods

Whether you choose a ducted or ductless range hood, Whirlpool brand has options that can light your cooktop and help keep smoke and odors at bay. Whirlpool® range hoods come in a variety of styles like canopy and downdraft that can blend in with any kitchen layout and feature powerful motors and fans that help to remove steam, smoke and fumes while you cook dinner for your family.

Learn more about range hoods with Whirlpool brand

Gold home heartbeat logo over image of a tablet with Whirlpool blog page displayed in the background

home heartbeat

Ready for more tips, home hacks and appliance guides?

Was this article helpful? Pass it on