Person stirring food on a range with a KitchenAid® hood above it

Types of Range Hoods: Exploring Your Options

A range hood helps vent smoke, odor and grease out of kitchen air while you cook on your range or cooktop. Proper ventilation makes the kitchen more inviting so you can fry, sear or sauté without worry. Keeping your kitchen air ventilated can help set the tone for each new day of creating. Ventilation is key for cleanliness around your range or cooktop.

This guide will walk you through the different types of range hood options and answer common questions about installation, vent speed, size and which hoods are right for which stoves.

Woman adjusting settings on an undercabinet hood

What Are the Different Types of Kitchen Ventilation Systems?

There are two types of range hood ventilation systems: external venting and recirculating venting. A convertible range hood can convert from one to another depending on the ductwork that is or isn’t present in your kitchen. Keep in mind that ductwork can be professionally installed if your kitchen isn’t set up for the cooking configuration you want. 

External venting pushes air through ductwork in the wall ceiling or floor and out of the house. 

Recirculating venting filters air as it enters the hood then pushes it back out into the kitchen. These vent hoods typically require you to clean the filter at least twice a year.

Decorative hoods, like canopy and downdraft styles, typically vent externally. On the other hand, most under-cabinet hoods and microwave hood combinations come factory set to recirculate. Before buying a hood, check the online owner’s manual or product specifications to learn how it vents and if it’s convertible. Sometimes an additional kit is available that can help convert an external vent model into a recirculating model.

Hand selecting option on a microwave hood combination as food cooks below

5 Types of Range Hoods For Kitchen Ventilation

Range hoods come in a variety of styles and with a number of features. If you’re concerned with ventilating smoke and fumes as you cook, you will want to consider installing a range hood. Learn about the different types of range hoods below to help you decide which one will work best for your preferences and your kitchen’s layout.

Wall-mount canopy hood between brown cabinets

1. Wall Mount Canopy Range Hoods

Wall-mount canopy hoods provide venting with a range of CFM and design options that make them compatible with a variety of cooking appliances. They replace over-the-range cabinetry and often vent air outside through ductwork in the wall, though other venting options are available.

Shop KitchenAid® Wall Mount Range Hoods

This popular type of range hood offers a variety of features, from high-end innovations to models with just the essentials. For instance, select KitchenAid® wall-mount canopy hoods deliver warming lights, removable filters and automatic turn on. Wall-mount canopy hoods are also available in commercial-style models designed to pair with high-BTU commercial-style ranges. The KitchenAid® 1170 CFM Commercial-Style Canopy Hood, for example, comes with a considerable 105,000 BTU rating.

Under-cabinet hood over a gas range

2. Under-Cabinet Range Hoods

These hoods can be installed under a cabinet and offer a discrete, built-in look. They are much smaller than a canopy hood but still provide powerful venting suitable for creative home cooking. You can hide ductwork in the cabinet above or use that space for storage and place ductwork in the wall.

Shop KitchenAid® Under-Cabinet Hoods

With under-cabinet hoods, you can reduce odor and smoke in your kitchen without disrupting existing design elements. For example, KitchenAid® under-cabinet hoods are available in sizes from 30 to 48 inches wide and as little as 2-⅜ inches tall. Under-cabinet hoods are also available in commercial-style models that offer external venting along with high CFM and BTU ratings, like the KitchenAid® 585 CFM Motor ClassCommercial-Style Under-Cabinet Hood.

1. Performance varies based on installation. Resources available at aham.org.

Black microwave hood combination in a black kitchen

3. Over-the-Range Microwave Hood Combinations

Microwave hood combinations perform as the name suggests: they can cook food while venting smoke and odor coming off the cooking surface below. These two-in-one appliances save space by getting your microwave off the countertop while letting you retain some cabinet space above the microwave.

Shop KitchenAid® Microwave Hood Combinations

When it comes to venting strength, over-the-range microwaves can get the job done. For instance, select KitchenAid® microwave hood combinations offer up to 500 CFM Motor Class.1 However, standalone vent hoods can have stronger venting capabilities if powerful ventilation is a high priority. Learn more about range hoods vs. over the range microwave hoods to see what is best for you and your kitchen.

1. Performance varies based on installation. Resources available at aham.org.

Overhead view of KitchenAid® range hood and pans with food on black cooktop

4. Island Range Hoods

Island canopy hoods hang from the ceiling over an island range. Typically located in the center of a room, these vent hoods make a strong style statement while offering enhanced technology and powerful performance. Island hoods are finished on all sides and often require ductwork in the ceiling.

Shop KitchenAid® Island Range Hoods

Expect strong venting strength and high-end features in most island canopy vent hoods. KitchenAid® island canopy hoods, deliver powerful perimeter ventilation and automatic fan-speed adjustment to ensure your kitchen keeps clean and clear. If you’re also deciding on a cooking appliance for your island, read this guide comparing cooktops and ranges for kitchen islands.

Retractable downdraft hood behind a gas range

5. Retractable Downdraft Hoods 

These hidden vent hoods provide a sleek, integrated ventilation solution by remaining flush with the countertop until needed, then rising high above the cooking surface when turned on. Smoke and odor is vented down into the ductwork beneath the floor, though recirculating kits are often available.

Shop KitchenAid® Downdraft Range Hoods

Retractable downdraft hoods have surprisingly strong venting and benefit from their close proximity to the cooking surface. For example, select KitchenAid® downdraft hoods feature a 65,000 BTU rating, which means it provides sufficient venting power for high-heat gas burners with a 65,000 or less BTU rating. Some KitchenAid® ranges and cooktops come with downdraft ventilation built in for a two-in-one cooking plus ventilation solution.

Man seasoning food with a canopy hood overhead

What Options Should I Look For When Buying a Range Hood?

Just like any other kitchen appliance, different types of range hoods will offer unique benefits depending on your culinary style. Here are some features and options to consider when selecting the best range hood for you:

Size

Your range hood should match the width of the cooking surface below. Most ranges and most vent hoods come in 30", 36", 42" and 48" widths. Matching the size exactly will ensure that the hood fully covers all burners or elements and pulls in any smoke, odor or grease coming off of them.

Venting strength (CFMs)

Venting strength is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). Also called airflow capacity, CFMs indicate how much air a vent can suck up in the span of a minute: the higher the number the more powerful the ventilation. Most vent hoods have multiple fan speed settings. As you move up in speed, the CFMs go up as well. 

BTU ratings

If a vent hood has a BTU rating, it means it can be paired with a KitchenAid® double oven gas range that features burners with that BTU rating. BTUs (British Thermal Units) measure how hot, and often how high, a flame can get on a gas burner. While this typically only applies to high-BTU commercial-style ranges and hoods, you always want to make sure your vent hood can handle the heat as well as the smoke coming off of the cooking surface below. For instance, the KitchenAid® 48” Wall-Mount Commercial-Style Canopy Range Hood is rated for up to 90,000 BTUs. 

Lighting

A clear view of the cooktop or range is essential for monitoring your creations as they transform and flavor develops. Vent hoods provide a lot of light that illuminates the cooking surface below. Look for LED lighting options as well as varying brightness levels. Some models like the KitchenAid® 36" Low Profile Under-Cabinet Hood feature a night light setting to subtly accent the kitchen with a soft, inviting glow.

Automatic speed adjustment

When you’re immersed in creating and constructing your dish you may not always remember to turn your vent hood on. A premium and highly convenient feature in some types of range hoods will sense when something is in the making and turn on automatically. Some models even adjust the setting themselves, like the Auto Speed Setting by KitchenAid brand, which automatically adjusts the fan's speed depending on the heat being produced.

Learn More About Range Hoods