Today’s kitchen range hoods can look like sleek sculptures. Here’s what to look for when you go shopping for one:

  1. Power. Look for units that will exhaust at least 300 cubic feet of air per minute (cfm). Keep in mind that higher cfm will waste more energy due to the extra heat that the fan is drawing out from the house, thus increasing burden on your furnace.
  2. Size. When possible the fan unit should be 3 to 6 inches wider than the cooktop for maximum efficiency.
  3. How is the unit vented? There are basically two types: Top and back vents. The ideal location for hood fans is directly behind an exterior wall.
  4. Look for filters that can be changed easily. This will save a lot of hassle and frustration in the long run.
  5. Built-in lighting. Take into consideration for extra lighting for the cooktop if this feature is not available.
  6. Noise. Choose centrifugal fan over rotary fans for quieter operation.
  7. Avoid re-circulating type range hoods. As the name suggests, smoke and fumes are just going back inside the house, which defeats the purpose of having a fan in the first place.