Model shown: WVW51UC0FS

Whirlpool® Range Hood

What is a range hood & do I need range hood venting?

If you’re wondering whether or not you need a range hood, you’re not alone. Did you know that a range hood is an appliance made specifically to help your home and family? Check out answers to these key questions to better understand if a range hood is the right choice for you.

Explore range hoods from Whirlpool brand to learn about the different styles and all they have to offer.

What is a range hood?

A range hood, also known as a vent hood or kitchen hood, is an appliance typically mounted above ranges or cooktops that helps to capture, filter or vent out cooking grease and steam above your cooking surface. Range hoods feature an integrated fan and sometimes include lights to help illuminate your cooktop.

Range hoods are available in different types and sizes to match your cooking appliance and kitchen setup. You can find options that vent air outside the home via ducts, or ductless range hood options that filter and recirculate the air back into your kitchen. Learn more about range hood types and sizes. For example, Whirlpool brand offers canopy hoods, downdraft hoods, convertible range hoods and kitchen hood liners and blowers.

How does a range hood work?

While cooking, the hood draws in moisture, smoke and grease via a fan. Hoods with outside ventilation pull that air out of the home through ductwork. Recirculating range hoods use a series of filters to scrub the air before returning it to the room.

Running your kitchen hood fan for several minutes before you start cooking helps create suction so there is no delay in venting. Running the fan for several minutes after cooking can also help clear any additional smoke and odor from the air. If you opt for a ductless range hood that recirculates air, you’ll need to clean the filter on a regular basis. Learn more about cleaning over-the-range microwave filters. Find out more about filters and other parts of range hoods.

Model shown: WML35011KS

Microwave range hood combo venting steam from stovetop Microwave range hood combo venting steam from stovetop

Do I really need a range hood?

When you cook on any type of stove—including gas or electric ranges—particles of grease, food, water and smoke evaporate into the air. In the short term, this can decrease air quality and fill your home with odors. In the long term, these particles can end up leaving grime throughout your kitchen. 

A vent hood may be required by code, depending on where you live. But regardless of requirements, most people can benefit from a range hood, even those who rarely cook or only steam vegetables. If you frequently fry, sear meats and proteins, or sauté, your need for a range hood is even greater. Consider models that move air in higher cubic feet-per-minute (CFM) to filter out the increased grease and smoke.

Are there alternative kitchen ventilation options?

In addition to the traditional range hood mounted above your cooking surface, there are also microwave-hood combinations that do double duty and downdraft ventilation systems that rise up from the countertop when needed. Read on to see if one of these alternatives from Whirlpool brand is the right choice for you.

People who need to fit in more function above their range might be interested in a Whirlpool® Over-the-Range Microwave with built-in recirculating ventilation. If you’re limited on space, consider a low profile microwave hood combination, a two-in-one solution that fits in the same space as an under cabinet hood.1 As with traditional hoods, remember to pair the size of your venting solution with your cooktop size. Find out more about the differences between range hoods and over-the-range microwaves.

If you don’t like the look of a hood or your cooking surface is installed in an island, Whirlpool® Downdraft Ventilation is also an option that helps maintain clean lines in open-concept kitchens. Just make sure that your downdraft vent is rated to keep up with your cooktop. Learn more with this guide on the different types of range hoods.

What should I consider when buying a range hood?

There are many different types and sizes of range hoods designed to fit the way you cook, your cooking surface and your kitchen setup. When choosing a range hood, make sure you match it to your home and lifestyle. Learn more about how to choose a range hood with these considerations:

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CFM, or cubic feet-per-minute, measures how much air your ventilation system can move in one minute. Gas stove venting requirements typically call for a higher CFM rating than venting requirements for electric ranges.


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If you’re used to older ventilation systems, you might associate them with a lot of noise. Newer range hoods can be quieter thanks to low sound level technology.


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Since part of a hood’s job is to light up your cooktop, look for one with bright lights that let you see your entire work surface. Ventilation hoods with LED Task Lighting are a popular choice.


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Depending on your home’s construction, you might not be able to ventilate to the outside and may choose a recirculating hood instead. If so, check if your local and state governing codes permit recirculating hood use. Comply with recommended max vent length, which can impact performance.


Range hood pairing icon

Make sure to pair the size of your hood with the size of your cooking surface. At minimum, pairing should be size for size (30" hood with 30" cooking surface).

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1. Based on 24" minimum install for under cabinet hoods and Low Profile Microwave Hood.