Ventilation while cooking is important to keep smells, smoke and steam from billowing through the house. Recirculating hoods trap fats and other particulates in their filters, cleaning the air that is pulled through the hood, before returning it to the home. There are a lot of different range hoods on the market, so I’ve taken a look at some of the best recirculating range hoods and provided an ultimate guide to help choose what’s right for you.
Of course, there are other styles of range hoods, and depending on your home and circumstances, you may need a different style. Recirculation hoods are ideal for houses that have heat recovery systems or passive homes built for energy efficiency. For kitchens that burn a fossil fuel while cooking then recirculating hoods are a must.
Broan 413004 Non-Ducted Under-Cabinet Range Hood
6 x 30 x 17.5 inches
Proline Wall / Undercabinet Range Hood
19 x 29.5 x 5 inches
Perfetto Kitchen and Bath 30" Convertible Wall Mount Range Hood
24.8 x 24.5 x 19.8 inches
Z Line KB-30 30" 760 CFM Wall Mount Range Hood
30 x 17.7 x 10.5 inches
AKDY 30" Stainless Steel Tempered Glass Wall Mount Range Hood
18.7 x 29.5 x 37.4 inches
The Broan 413004 recirculating hood is easy to install as it can be setup as a non-ducted under cabinet range hood. The hood contains a removable combination, grease and charcoal, filter. The filter helps ensure only the cleanest air is circulated back into the home after it passes through the hood.
While completing our Broan range hood review, I noticed that the unit does not ship with a light bulb, even though it does have an over the range lamp. The lamp can take a up to a 75 watt bulb, and it has a protective lens cover to prevent grease or other particulates from damaging the light.
The exhaust fan has two speed settings, controlled by a rocker switch, with a maximum rpm of 2,850. The light is either on or off with no other setting control. The unit can come in four different colors: stainless steel, white, almond or black.
The mitered sides, and hemmed bottom, of the cabinet range hood have a width of 30 inches, a depth of 17.5 inches and a 6 inch height for fitting purposes. It should be placed with a minimum of 18 inches of clearance above the range surface when installed.
Of the best 30 inch range hoods, the Proline PLJW 185.30 stands out for several reasons. This model is one of the slimmest recirculating range hoods on the market, being only 5 inches tall. It is also a bit deeper than many competitors, being 18.9 inches from front to back, while being a 30 inch standard width.
The hood also comes equipped with two LED bulbs that cover the entire range top with bright, energy efficient light. Along with the great lighting it delivers, the blower is high powered and has four different speed settings for your needs. The filter is a removable, dishwasher safe product that is easily cleaned and replaced.
The venting system can be set in multiple ways for exhausting the cleaned air. The air is circulated either through the top of the unit, or if the rear panels are removed it can be vented through the back, or a combination of the two.
This unit also comes with a 3 year limited warranty from the manufacturer that covers parts and labor if anything should fail.
One drawback is that this hood only has one style, a stainless steel finish, which certainly matches any home but that may not match any style.
This convertible range hood has a three speed fan, push button controls, and 2 LED lights. The unit can be converted from vented to vent-less during installation, as Ill as connected to a duct system, or operate as a non-ducted unit depending on your needs.
The two mesh filters provide an extra level of filtering to be sure as much smoke and particulates are removed as possible from the air. The mesh filters are dishwasher safe and easily cleaned. If an additional carbon filter is wanted to go along with the mesh filters, they can be purchased separately and easily installed.
While this is an aesthetically pleasing, European style wall mounted hood, it is not an under cabinet model, and needs plenty of wall space to be installed correctly. The minimum wall height for installation is eight feet, and the chimney drop down height needed is 26.5 inches.
The eye pleasing glass canopy spans the entire width, making this one of the most stylish looking of the best 30 inch kitchen hoods I reviewed. The unit comes with a self installation kit for the DIY person, but can be professionally installed as Ill. While the company is based in Canada, they do offer a US customer service team for help in the states as Ill.
This Z Line model is a solid wall mounted hood that is capable of being installed both with a ducted or non-ducted system. This powerful 760 CFM range hood has a four speed fan, and an LCD display with push button controls. While this hood is not an under cabinet design, there are optional kits that can be used for non-standard ceiling heights, outside the 7 to 8 foot range.
This model is a fairly plain design, available only in the stainless steel finish. The filter is a baffled filter, rather than mesh, and can be fitted with a carbon filter for recirculating air purposes. The carbon filter is sold separately.
This model also includes a dual LED light upgrade, making sure the range area is Ill illuminated when in use. The unit comes with a three year limited warranty on parts if there is any issue that comes up after installation.
One issue that was encountered was that the pre-made holes in the chimney didn’t line up with existing studs properly, so it may take some extra work to redrill holes or find a work around to have it affixed firmly. While that is more likely due to the studs in the home not being standard, it is still frustrating when it can’t be lined up properly.
One of the most modern styled hoods I looked at, this glass wall mount range hood certainly looks great. As with other wall mounted units, this unit requires an 8 to 9 foot ceiling, and nearly 27 inches of drop down height. With touch-friendly digital controls, and an LCD display it’s easy to set the bloIr to the setting you need. The unit has three speed settings, and dual LED lights. The venting is convertible for either ducted exhaust or non-ducted, but the carbon filter for recirculation must be purchased separately.
The glass canopy covers the entire width of the hood, with the rest of the unit being made from brushed stainless steel. It includes two baffled filters to ensure the most grease and particulates can be removed from the air it filters.
AKDY includes a three year limited warranty for this range hood as Ill, protecting the investment spent for those that choose to purchase it.
If you have a taller than standard ceiling (above 9 feet) then the additional extensions for the duct work are necessary. While functional, these extensions are not Ill fitted to match the rest of the unit. While this isn’t a concern when it comes to function, it does affect the aesthetics.
There are a few things that need to be considered to make sure the range hood you need is the one that is invested in. To help make that decision, here are some things that need to be considered:
For most people that are living in older homes, the cost of adding ductwork may not be worth it, while modern homes are generally being constructed with the ductwork already. Knowing your home, and what you are willing to spend if the home doesn’t already have ductwork plays a big part in deciding which way to go on this. That being said, for cleaner air in the house, and less smoke or odors remaining after cooking, ducted range hoods are the better option.
If you already have cabinetry over your range, then unless you want to tear it out, sticking with the under cabinet ductless range hood is much more likely to be your choice. If you’re building a new home, or already have a hood with a wall mounted chimney, then this is generally a better purchase for ducted units.
While the standard size for most ranges, and existing hoods, is 30 inches wide, it’s important to measure the range itself. For proper ventilation all of the burners should be Ill covered by the hood, so the 30 inch standard may not be enough. It’s better to error on the big side when it comes to ventilation, as being too close or undersized will allow air and smoke to make their way into the home.
Many people are fully capable of installing range hoods on their own, but installation must be done correctly. If the hood is installed in the wrong position, or if the vents/ductwork don’t exhaust the air correctly, then it can lead to grease, odors and smoke not being fanned away. Some hoods also need to be hardwired into the wall, so having the proper experience to complete that should be considered as Ill. Even just mounting the equipment can be difficult to accomplish if things don’t match up properly. Professional installation is always recommended if you have questions about how to properly install the unit.
While many units may advertise the Cubic Feet per Minute of airflow as the biggest selling point, that ultimately may just be a gimmick. While airflow is definitely an important matter when it comes to ventilation, higher CFM is not a guarantee of capturing more smoke or faster air removal. Remember that the filters play a role in how fast air travels through the unit, size of the hood determines how much air stays in the system, and a loIr CFM can handle the job just as efficiently as a product that boasts a higher rating.
Choosing what’s right for a specific home means being knowledgeable about the home and the expected needs of the user. The perfect hood for one home, may be inefficient or ineffective for the next. Be sure to research what you need to make sure it doesn’t cost you more than necessary either now, or in the future after it’s been installed.
The primary function difference between direct ventilation, and recirculated air, is that direct ventilation sends the exhaust completely out of the home while recirculation filters the air and keeps it inside the home. The main reason people choose a recirculating range hood is because they don’t have the ductwork or ventilation already in their home. Another reason for choosing a recirculating range hood is for homes that burn fossil fuels as it helps clear any carbon monoxide that results from that fuel burning from the air. Rather than having to add the ductwork or ventilation, it’s cheaper and can be just as effective to install a recirculating air unit.
They have a fan, or blower as it is frequently called, that pulls the air underneath the canopy into the unit. As the air travels through the unit, it flows through a filter, or series of filters, that collect debris, smoke and grease. Generally this is done by a metal baffle, or mesh, filter and a carbon filter. The metal filters catch most of the grease and other steamed solids, while the carbon filters out the smoke, ash, and microbial aspects of the air that is being blown through it. After passing through the filters, the air is vented back into the home.
While the hoods I reviewed above covered two of the most common types, under cabinet and wall mounted, there are some other types as Ill. There are also pendant, island and downdraft types of hoods. If your range sits on an island in the center of the kitchen then you likely need an island type of range hood. Pendant hoods are those that look similar to pendant jewelry, they dangle from the ceiling in various shapes, and while stylish, they may not be effective for your needs. Downdraft hoods pull the air off the surface and downward to exhaust it, rather than having the air flow upwards into the hood and out. For what is generally considered to be the best recirculation hoods, I stuck to those that are most common and effective, meaning the wall mounted and under cabinet ductless range hood styles.
With recirculating hood systems the air stays within the home and the particulates are trapped by the filter. Ducted systems lead the air outside of the home. Generally if the duct-work already exists in the home, then installing a recirculating air range hood isn’t necessary, as the duct-work is much more efficient at clearing the air of the home. Homes without duct-work likely need that recirculating hood to clean the air that can’t escape the home.
For recirculating hoods, it’s important to clean the metal filters often, and replace the carbon filters every two to three months. For most, the carbon filters are fairly inexpensive, but allowing them to go too long before replacement can mean that the air is no longer being filtered actively. For the metal filters, they become coated with grease and need to be cleaned on a regular basis determined by how often cooking is completed. For the best range hoods, those metal filters are dishwasher safe so cleaning is simple, just be sure to check them frequently.
The best way to gauge the airflow you need is to understand how to adjust for the heat you use when cooking. For most installers, they recommend having one CFM for every 100 BTU that the range produces while cooking. This information may be in the range’s owner’s manual, but as a common point of reference, at their max output each burner will likely have around 7,000 to 12,000 BTU. That means the average four burner stove top can provide between 24,000 to 48,000 BTU at one time. By dividing those numbers by 100, then it means you likely need a range hood that has between 240 CFM and 480 CFM.
Each hood will come with manufacturer’s recommendations for how to measure the positioning it needs over the range. Most often it will be between 18 inches and 32 inches from the top of the cook top to the bottom of the hood. This can also depend on the type of range the hood is being installed over as well. Gas ranges typically need more space, an average of 30 inches minimum is recommended for hoods over gas burners. Ultimately, close attention needs to be given to the installation instructions when positioning the hood.
Range hoods create a vacuum within the house as they operate, because they are basically sucking the air out of the kitchen. This can become dangerous under some circumstances, so many building codes require that any range hood that provides 500 CFM be set so that there is “makeup air” available to prevent back-drafts of gases from furnaces or other fuel burning appliances. There are specific vents and systems that can be installed that provide makeup air to a home, so check with your local requirements to be sure you are following the regulations, as well as keeping your home safe.
Going through the best recirculating air range hoods was difficult, but as I checked out the different models and styles there were some things that stood out that made one range hood better than the others.
The key factors that helped make that decision were the type of filter provided, the lighting, control buttons, installation ease and fan speeds.
The most reliable and efficient filters are the baffle style. The dual LED lights covered the most area and are very power efficient. Push button controls offer the firmest setting, and the best tactile response to ensure the function you want is turned on. The under cabinet models tended to be the easiest to install, with the slimmer versions providing the maximum benefit for positioning and stability. Lastly, the more speeds the hood provided, the better it was for noise control and efficiency for getting the job done.
With all those things considered, that made the clear winner the Proline PLJW 185.30. Of course this may not be the best for what you specifically need, so I recommend checking the links for more information to be sure you get the best range hood just for you.
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