A rangehood is an essential part of any kitchen, eliminating cooking smells, grease droplets, heat and steam produced when using your cooktop. An internal fan draws air into a filter and that air is then either expelled outside (ducted) or returned to the kitchen as clean air (recirculated).
These days there are a number of different shapes, sizes and possible positions of rangehoods, so at Ultimate Kitchens & Bathrooms in Hawthorn East, Melbourne we want to help you to research what will not only look best in your new kitchen but also function well. For this reason we’ve listed the types of rangehoods and then what to consider when making your selection.
Types of rangehoods
Sitting under the cupboard above your cooker, with just its front edge visible, this style of rangehood slides out horizontally for use and can then be tucked back in when not needed. In compact kitchens this arrangement is a handy space saver, allowing you to have usable cabinets directly above your cooktop. Retractable rangehoods are also the most economical option
These chimney shaped rangehoods hang over your cooktop, and are mounted from the wall or the ceiling, which is needed if your cooktop sits on an island bench. They come in a variety of metals colours and shapes, from country style to ultra modern. Canopies generally have good suction power but tend to be more expensive than retractable units. They provide a definite visual impact in a kitchen, which may or may not be what you want.
These are placed in the cupboard over your cooktop, offering a very streamlined look but taking up cupboard space that you might want for other uses. Like retractable units, integrated ones incorporate lights as well as the fan.
A relative newcomer to the market, these units look stylish but unfortunately are often under-powered and over-noisy, as they go against the basic law of physics that heat and steam rise!
Questions to consider
- Will the rangehood be ducted to the outside of the home or does it filter and re-circulate steam and odours? The latter set-up is not one we’d recommend.
- How strongly does the rangehood draw steam and smoke? Do you require a unit that has to cope with lots of stovetop cooking, perhaps with strongly-odoured or especially greasy fumes?
According to Choice magazine (20/6/13):
The amount of power your range hood needs to have ultimately depends on the size of the cooktop. A range hood’s power is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM), or in other words, the amount of air that will be exhausted through the hood. The higher the number, the more air will be vented away in one minute. To calculate how many CFMs your cooktop requires, you need to take the amount of British Thermal Units, or BTUs, your cooktop has (this is a measure of any gas appliance’s energy output) and divide that number by 100. Gas cooktops need between 600 to 1,000 CFMs, depending on how many BTUs they have. Generally, the bigger the cooktop and the higher the number of burners it has, the more CFMs the range hood needs.
3. What is the noise level produced by the unit? This will be affected by its power and also how it is ducted (semi-rigid or rigid reduces noise). The quieter the unit, the more expensive it generally will be, so you have to think about how important the decibel level created in your kitchen will be for you.
4. How wide is the unit? A 90 cm one will perform better than a 60cm one, even over a 60 cm stove, as it catches the emissions that inevitably pour from the edges of your stovetop.
5. Will the style of rangehood affect the light distribution over your cooking area? For example, a canopy unit can block the illumination from your ceiling downlights.
6. Does the rangehood offer variable speed so that you can set the fan appropriately depending on what you are cooking?
7. How easy it the rangehood to clean? Remember that it is collecting greasy vapours!
Of course a good kitchen designer will be able to help you decide on the right style of rangehood that will work best for your particular kitchen.