Canopy hood installed between cabinets

Types of range hoods buying guide

Proper ventilation is essential for keeping your kitchen feeling and smelling like home. And you have options. You can choose something small and discreet that gets the job done or a powerful appliance that helps clear the air while being the centerpiece of your kitchen. This article will break down the different types of kitchen hoods to help you decide what will work best for your kitchen as well as your family’s cooking habits.

What are the different types of kitchen hoods?

Different types of kitchen hoods include undercabinet, wall-mount canopy, island canopy, hood liners, retractable downdraft and microwave hood combinations. You can also opt for a custom hood that matches your cabinetry. What you choose will depend on your kitchen layout, cooking routines and aesthetic preferences. 

1. Undercabinet range hoods

These hoods can be installed under a cabinet and often vent through air recirculation, meaning they filter air then push it back into the kitchen. Despite their small stature, they still offer strong venting for day-to-day cooking. The slim design also means they’re discreet and allow you to use your over-the-range cabinets as valuable storage space.

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2. Wall-mount canopy range hoods

Wall-mount canopy hoods attach to the wall above and behind your range. They typically offer powerful venting for cooks who do a lot of frying, searing and sauteing on the stovetop. The bell-like shape replaces the cabinets above your range and usually funnels and pushes air out of the house.

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3. Island canopy range hoods

The hoods are similar to wall-mount range hoods, except they hang from the ceiling over an island range. Island canopy hoods are finished on all sides so they look great no matter where you are in the kitchen. These statement-making hoods often offer strong venting capabilities and the latest hood features. Island canopy hoods typically vent through ductwork in the ceiling, but may also be available as ductless or convertible models.

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4. Range hood liners

Range hood liners allow you to conceal ventilation within cabinetry, creating a style all your own. The ductwork is hidden inside custom cabinetry and the liner can simply be inserted in the bottom. Expect similar venting strength and feature availability as you would find in traditional range hoods. Some hood liners do not come with the hood blower so you can choose the venting strength of the blower based on your needs. Check to see if a hood liner includes the blower or if it is purchased separately.

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5. Retractable downdraft hoods

Downdraft hoods are installed directly into countertops and vent air down into ductwork beneath the floor, though recirculating kits are often available. They are hidden in the cabinet space below the countertops then raised up when it’s time to cook. This type of range hood is ideal for kitchen islands or those who want to conceal their appliances.

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6. Microwave hood combinations

A microwave can also be used to vent kitchen air. Microwave hood combinations can be mounted below cabinets so you can use over-the-range space for storage and free up countertop space. These space-saving appliances typically help clear kitchen air using recirculation rather than external venting.

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What are different types of range hood ventilation?

No matter which range hood type you choose, you can most likely find that type with the ventilation you desire as well. Choose between ducted (external venting), ductless (air recirculation) or a model that can do either.

1. Ducted range hoods

Ducted range hoods vent externally, which means they vent kitchen air out of doors through ductwork in the wall, ceiling or floor. This type of venting is very common and can be found in all range hood styles, particularly canopy hoods whether they’re wall-mounted or installed over an island. If your kitchen isn’t set up for one but you want an external venting hood, a professional should be able to install the proper ductwork. Learn more about how to install a range hood.

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2.  Ductless range hoods

Ductless or recirculating venting filters air then pushes it back out into the kitchen. Most microwave hood combinations and many undercabinet hoods come factory set to use recirculating venting. These hoods can be installed anywhere, but the filter will need to be cleaned at least twice a year.

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3. Convertible range hoods

Some hoods can vent externally or via air recirculation depending on your kitchen’s ductwork. Undercabinet and canopy hoods are the most likely types to be convertible. If your desired hood isn’t convertible, check if an additional kit is available that can change external to recirculating venting.

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What type of range hood is best for me?

The type of range hood that will fit your kitchen and your family best depends on your kitchen size and layout, how much venting power you need and what type of features will work with your cooking routines. For extra help deciding, the Whirlpool® Hood Finder can guide you through the process with some simple questions.

Size and fit

Your existing or desired kitchen size and layout will help determine which hood you choose. If you have cabinets above your range and don’t want to remove them, you may want to select an undercabinet hood. If you have limited counter space, a two-in-one microwave hood combination conserves space. If you have a range on your kitchen island, a retractable downdraft hood will help maintain an open feel while an island canopy hood can help you make a bold design statement. Learn more about range hood sizes.

Venting strength (CFMs)

Venting strength is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). A higher CFM motor number indicates a higher capacity to replace kitchen air at a higher frequency.

Heat compatibility (BTU ratings)

Your cooktop surface will help determine what hood you should purchase. Hoods need to be able to handle the highest potential heat output of your cooking surface. If you have an electric cooking surface, any hood can handle the heat output. If you have a gas cooking surface, you need to check to see if the total BTUs of the cooktop burners is equal to or below the maximum heath threshold of the hood.

Type of range hood features

Lighting

Since part of a hood’s job is to light your stovetop, look for one with a bright light that lets you see your entire work surface. Ventilation hoods with LED lighting are a popular choice. Some hoods even know when you need extra lighting like Whirlpool® Range Hoods with Glass Edge LED Lighting that senses when your kitchen lights dim and automatically turn on to act as a night-light.

Fit guarantees

When you’re working with limited space between cabinets, the right fit is essential. Some models come with a guarantee that your new range hood will fit your cutout. For instance, the Whirlpool® FIT System helps reduce measuring, cutting and trim for a smooth fit.1

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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.