Range hoods, or vent hoods, help keep your kitchen feeling and smelling like home. Finding the right fit shouldn’t be hard: range hood sizes are fairly standardized and based on the size of the cooking surface below. Just match the hood width to the width of your range or cooktop. Whether you’re remodeling or just upgrading, use this guide to identify a hood type and size that’s right for your space and cooking habits.
What are the different types of kitchen hoods?
Wall-mount canopy hood
Wall-mounted canopy hoods can be installed over your range or cooktop against the wall. You may need to remodel cabinets if your kitchen wasn’t designed with one in mind. Canopy range hoods should be the same width as the cooking surface below.
Island canopy hood
Canopy hoods can also be installed over a kitchen island. They are different from wall-mounted hoods because they’re finished on all sides rather than just three sides. Island canopy hoods should also be the same width as the cooking surface below.
These hoods can be installed under a cabinet. They are much smaller than a canopy hood but still offer powerful venting. Undercabinet hoods should fit snug between cabinets and come in similar widths to canopy hoods. They extend past cabinet depths in order to provide adequate coverage for all the burners on the range or cooktop below. Look for easy installation systems like the FIT System by Whirlpool brand which eliminates measuring, cutting and trim.1
Over-the-range microwave hood combination
A microwave can also be used to vent kitchen air. Microwave hood combinations can be mounted below cabinets to allow for more storage space and, of course, will also cook food. Over-the-range microwave sizes will be determined by the cabinet space you have. Learn more about dimensions in our microwave sizes guide.
Retractable downdraft hoods
Downdraft hoods are installed directly into countertops and vent air down into ductwork beneath the floor. They should fit flush with countertops but are raised up when it’s time to cook. Downdraft hoods often match the width of the cooking surface and are only a few inches deep. However, they will rise up around 14 to 18 inches behind the range or cooktop.
How to measure for vent hood dimensions
Step 1: Measure the width of your cooking surface
The majority of residential ranges and cooktops are 30 to 36 inches wide, though some smaller kitchens may use a 24-inch cooking surface. If you’re measuring for a downdraft hood, the hood should match your range width exactly and be installed directly behind it.
Step 2: Measure the width of the area between the cabinets
Measure the width of the area over the range or cooktop. Range hoods often come in 24", 30" or 36" widths. The hood should be exactly as wide as the cooking surface. Undercabinet hoods and over-the-range microwave hoods should fit snug between cabinets while canopy hoods can be installed either snug or with a couple inches of space on either side of the hood before the cabinets.
Step 3: Measure the height of the space above the cooking surface
Make sure you have enough space between the cooking surface and bottom of the hood. Be sure to consult local building codes and the manufacturer's recommended installation heights for your cooking appliance. Here are some typical clearances for reference:
24 inches minimum for an electric range or cooktop
27 inches minimum for a gas range or cooktop
No more than 36 inches for both gas and electric cooking surfaces
If you’re installing your hood under a cabinet, it’s okay if it’s not flush with the bottom of cabinets as long as the correct distance to the cooking surface is retained. For retractable downdraft hoods, make sure there is enough unobstructed space above the cooking surface for the vent to extend fully. If you have limited space above the range but would like a microwave hood combination, check out the Low Profile Microwave Hood Combination by Whirlpool, a shorter over-the-range microwave that can fit in the same space as an undercabinet hood.2
Step 4: Measure the depth of the cooking surface
Measure the cook surface front-to-back excluding the control panel or trim. Vent hoods should be deep enough to provide adequate coverage for the front and rear burners. Commercial and oversized ranges may require custom or specialized range hoods. If installing a downdraft vent, make sure the cabinet below is at least 24 inches deep. Some installations may require a countertop depth greater than 25 inches.
What to consider other than range hood dimensions
Venting strength (CFMs)
Venting strength, or airflow capacity, is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). A higher number indicates a higher capacity to replace kitchen air at a higher frequency. 200 to 300 CFM is a good number to aim for if you’re cooking normally and have a residential range. Oversized or commercial-style ranges may require higher venting capabilities.
To make sure you get the right venting strength, check the manufacturer’s recommendations for your cooking appliance. Also keep in mind your cooking habits, the overall size of your kitchen and local construction code requirements.
Canopy-style hoods will come in a variety of shapes and styles. They are often shaped like an upside-down funnel or capital T, but sometimes can have more of a dome shape. Some models include glass canopies, LED accents and other stylized elements.
Recirculating vs. external venting
Most range hoods vent externally, which means they vent kitchen air outside and require ductwork in the wall, ceiling or floor. Ductwork needs to be professionally installed if it doesn't already exist. Ductless or recirculating venting filters air then pushes it back out into the kitchen. These can be installed anywhere, but the filter will need to be cleaned at least twice a year or more frequently to maintain optimal performance depending on your cooking habits. Some hoods are convertible and can vent externally or through recirculation.
Most decorative hoods, like canopy and downdraft styles, vent externally. Most undercabinet and microwave hood combinations come factory set to recirculate air in the kitchen. Always check the appliance’s owner’s manual or specifications to understand how it vents and if it’s convertible.
Explore Whirlpool® vent hoods for your kitchen
Color: Stainless Steel
Color: Stainless Steel
Color: Stainless Steel
More help finding the right cooking appliances
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1. Based on typical installation with existing electrical and ventilation connections. Consult a professional installer to ensure your installation complies with code requirements.
2. Based on 24" minimum install for undercabinet hoods and Low Profile Microwave Hood Combination.