An exhaust hood, extractor hood, or range hood is a device containing a mechanical fan that removes airborne grease, combustion products, fumes, smoke, odors, heat, and steam from the kitchen.
Ventilation plays an important role in creating a pleasing ambiance, especially at home. It doesn't really matter if you are an expert cook or a novice experimenting once in a while, a stove or range hood is an absolute must-have in the kitchen. Don't let the lingering smell spoil either your cooking experience or your family's dining experience. Setting up a range hood over your cooking range will help eliminate and filter out smoke, grease, moisture, and most importantly, dispel and neutralize the lingering food smell.

First things first, let the size of your cooking range and the subsequent time you spend in the kitchen decide the size of range hood for your kitchen. Apart from its utility feature, range hoods can very well become the focal point in a dull and drab kitchen. There are quite a few features you need to bear in mind while choosing the right range hood. Let's take a look at some of them.

Understand the Working
There are two basic types of range hoods―external and recirculating ventilation. Which means that a range hood will perform either one of these functions―vent to the outside or inside. Ideally, it is best to look for a range hood that will vent outside as it will pull moisture along with smoke, grease, and odors out of your home. The hoods that vent inside, on the other hand, will efficiently filter out odor and smell, while the moisture could circulate back into your kitchen, which could mean an invite for bacteria and mold, not to mention its effect on the finish of your furnishing.

Types of Range Hoods
There are three types of vent hoods, namely, under-cabinet, wall-mounts, and ceiling-mounted range hoods. Before your go out and purchase, we recommend you decide what style suits your kitchen decor as well as your cooking needs.

Under-cabinet: Under-cabinet range hoods can be installed directly over the cooktop under the overhead cabinet. You can choose from ducted and non-ducted or re-circulating models. While non-ducted models can be fixed directly under the cabinet, they simply purify the air and recirculate it back into the kitchen. While vented models too can be attached to the under-side of the cabinet, the vents can be directed outdoors through the cabinets so that the vents are virtually out of sight. Besides, these models are easy to install and relatively inexpensive.

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Wall-mounted: As the name suggests, these models are installed against the kitchen wall. These are referred to as chimney vents, solely because of their rising duct that resembles a home chimney. Due to its shape, it cannot be placed under a cabinet, which means, you can consider this option only if you do not have overhead cabinets installed in your kitchen.

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Ceiling-mount: Island hoods or ceiling mounts are essentially high-end models that are suspended from the ceiling over the range top. For such types of range hoods, the mounting height becomes a critical factor and can influence the cost of the hood. As a higher ceiling would require a greater mounting height, leading to a rise in cost. Though, no doubt, a suspended hood is an efficient way to filter smoke, grease, and odors from an island cooktop. Considering its stylish appearance, it can easily be used to create a focal point in your kitchen.

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Underlying Features

Apart from its appearance, you would also like to pay heed to the features that would get you the best range hood for the money. These features include the suction level or power, the amount of noise or sones, and the lighting style.

Suction Power or Capture Area: Ideally, the width of the capture area should match that of the cooktop. A powerful range hood is sure to quickly absorb odors, smoke, and moisture from the kitchen. In short, the venting power of the range hood decreases significantly when it is placed higher up. A powerful fan here can do the trick.

Noise Level: While the range hood works to eliminate the odor and improve air quality in the kitchen, it comes with a downside of being too noisy. For obvious reasons, high-end range hoods will offer you better performance along with a quieter fan.

Under Hood Lighting: Your cooking experience can be enhanced with good overhead lights. This can obviously be met with quality lighting embedded on the underside of the hood. You can choose from incandescent, halogen, and fluorescent lights that meet energy standards.

Controls: Most range hoods come with a manual on-off switch that allows you to control the fan speed. However, high-end models have digital controls and touch pads that will allow you to control the lights, fan speed, and sensors controlling the blower.

The amount of space you have in your kitchen is an important factor that will decide the type of range hood you need to invest in. Before you do go out and consider the options, make it a point to measure your kitchen horizontally and vertically. Measure the space between the overhead counter and the lower cabinet to ensure you do not buy a range hood that's too big or small to cover your range top.