Note: This article, Range Hoods and Induction Cooking: What You Need to Know, was first published in June 2017. It is a basic primer on range hoods, and most of the information is also applicable to non-induction cooking.
If you don't want to read the whole article, skip to the section you're interested in:
What Is a Range Hood?
A range hood is basically an exhaust fan you install over your range or cooktop that pulls air through it when running. This accomplishes several things:
- It sucks up cooking grease and helps keep your kitchen cleaner.
- It pulls cooking odors out of the kitchen to reduce or eliminate residual cooking smells.
- It pulls the heated air from the cooktop and/or oven, helping to keep the kitchen cooler.
- A ducted one (one with a duct or vent that pulls air outdoors) will also help reduce condensation and heat produced by the cooktop.
Finally, in doing all of this, range hoods perform a rather important function: a good range hood can greatly improve indoor air quality.
Range hoods come in a huge variety of styles, prices, and power levels. We discuss all of these considerations here.
Do You Need a Range Hood with Induction Cooking?
As I start my answer to so many questions, it depends.
Maybe not the most helpful beginning, but true nevertheless.
Reasons Not to Have a Range Hood with an Induction Cooktop
Less Heat: One of the great advantages of cooking with induction cooktops and induction ranges is that they produce less ambient heat than gas and conventional electric ranges. So for purposes of keeping the kitchen cool and comfortable, the hood is not as necessary with induction.
No Toxic Fumes: And unlike gas cooktops, induction tops don't produce any toxic fumes like carbon monoxide. Therefore, you could argue that a range hood isn't as necessary for induction cooking as it is for gas cooking.
Habit: Maybe you're just accustomed to not having a range hood. I grew up in a house without one, and my mother was an avid cook. She pan-fried food regularly, and never once asked my father to install an exhaust system for her electric stove. If you've lived without one, you may have adjusted to not having one--different cleaning methods, perhaps using a window for ventilation, and avoiding food that produces unpleasant, lingering odors--and won't miss it.
If this is the case, put another check in the Advantages of Induction Cooking box.
Noise: Some people hate how loud exhaust hoods can be, so much so that even if they have one, they rarely use it. And it's true: a good hood can produce a fair amount of noise. If you're one of those people who can't tolerate a lot of ambient noise, a range hood may not be for you.
Reasons TO Have a Range Hood with an Induction Cooktop
Frying: Whether or not you need a range hood can also really depend on your cooking style. Frying and searing produces a lot of grease, and if you don't have a hood to suck up all those stray, sticky particles, they'll end up all over your kitchen. So if you do a lot of stovetop searing and frying, a hood is a useful thing to have. It will help keep your kitchen cleaner and it will greatly reduce cooking smells.
Even if you don't plan on doing much frying, you'll still be happy to have a hood on those occasions that you do. Without one, you risk messier cleanup and smells that can linger throughout your home for days. (And as one commenter said on a thread about this topic, you will always do more than you think you will.)
Safety: An exhaust hood makes cooking safer. It keeps cooking grease concentrated over the stove top and pulls it out of the kitchen. Less splattered grease means a safer working environment--less chance of fires, less chance of spills, and less grease spread about the kitchen.
Indoor Air Quality: As stated above, a good range hood--one that exhausts air outdoors--plays an important role in indoor air quality. They remove not only cooking odors and grease, but also toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen oxide. Granted, this is more significant with gas cooktops, but it does apply to a lesser degree to all cooktop types, because all cooking produces some measure of unhealthy gases.
Building Codes: Check the building codes in your area. Some residential zones require ventilation for cooking. This may be as simple as an open window, or it may mean a fully ducted range hood. Be sure to find out what the local laws are before making a final decision.
Aesthetics: Maybe one of the most compelling reasons to have a range hood with your induction cooktop (even if not the most rational) is aesthetics. A stylish hood is a great-looking addition to a kitchen.
If you've watched any house-makeover shows on HGTV, you know exactly what I mean.
Summary: It's possible to live without a range hood, and induction makes it even more possible than gas or electric. However, removing ambient heat is one of the less important functions of a range hood. Removing cooking grease and cooking odors are its primary functions, and this applies regardless of the type of cooktop you're using.
Do You Need to Buy the Same Brand of Range Hood As Your Cooktop or Range?
What Are the Different Types of Range Hoods?
Functionally speaking, there are two types of range hoods: ducted and ductless.
Stylistically speaking, there are several types of range hoods. They're categorized primarily by how they're mounted:
- Under-cabinet mount
- Wall mount
- Ceiling mount
Let's look at all the types in more detail.
Ducted Vs. Ductless Hoods
Ducted hoods require a hole cut into the wall or ceiling through which tubing passes so they can exhaust air outdoors. The advantage of ducted hoods is that they are work very well. The disadvantages include expense, complicated installation, and noise (however, a louder fan is generally a more powerful fan in the case of range hoods).
Ductless hoods have charcoal filters to trap grease. The air passes through the filter and recycles back into the kitchen. Most ductless hoods are under-cabinet hoods (however, not all under-cabinet hoods are ductless). Many under-cabinet mounted hoods have the option of being installed as ducted or ductless.
The advantages of ductless hoods are that they are inexpensive, easy to install, and take up a minimal amount of space. The primary disadvantage is that they simply don't work very well. Some people are skeptical enough to say that they don't work at all. However, if you look at the filter in a ductless hood that hasn't been changed in awhile, you can see that they actually do trap quite a bit of cooking grease. Yet that's pretty much all they do--moisture and heat get recycled right back into the kitchen.
Different Hood Styles
This range hood fits underneath the cabinet above the range. It can duct out the back (if the range is on an outside wall), or up through the cabinet (through the roof, if the range is not on an outside wall). Most ductless range hoods are under-cabinet mounts.
- Space-saving, particularly ductless (no exhaust system to the outdoors required).
- One of the least expensive range hood designs.
A wall-mounted range hood is one of the most common types of ducted hoods. Most look something like this:
It can duct out the back, straight up, or up, then horizontally.
Wall-mounted hoods are popular because they work well and are fairly easy to install if your range/cooktop is on an outside house wall. They come in many different sizes and styles and can be hidden behind cupboards or inside a custom installation.
- Work well (usually have powerful centrifugal exhaust fans)
- Look great
- Many different sizes and styles available.
The ceiling-mounted range hood hangs from a ceiling and is most commonly used over a cooktop on an island or peninsula (where a wall-mounted hood is not an option). You can mount ceiling hoods very high up if you wish (for example, to avoid blocking a view) but the further away the hood is from the cooktop surface, the larger and more powerful it has to be in order to provide proper venting. (More on this below.)
The chic, flat design of many ceiling-mounted fans means that they have "flat" exhaust fans rather than the more powerful centrifugal fans. This flat design can be less efficient at suctioning and exhausting cooking grease and odors. This can be compounded by the fact that the fan is typically placed further away from the cooktop than with wall-mounted units. This means you may want to go with a more powerful model (i.e., higher CFM rating--see below).
If you are considering a ceiling-mounted exhaust fan with a flat design, it's important to understand power and installation before buying.
Here's an example of a custom ceiling-mounted range hood over an induction stove:
- Ventilation solution for island and peninsula cooktops
- Wide range of installation heights
- Modern design with many styles available.
A downdraft "hood" isn't really a hood. It sits in a groove alongside the cooktop and pops up when you turn it on. Otherwise, it is out of view inside the counter, either behind or beside the stove.
This 30 second video from Bosch shows how a downdraft hood works:
Downdraft "hoods" are most often used in island or peninsula setups where it is difficult to vent upwards. The fan itself usually sits in the cupboard underneath the cooktop, or can be installed beneath the floor in the basement, where the vent is exhausted to the outside--although some downdrafts are ductless.
Basement-installed fans are both quieter and more powerful simply because of the further proximity to the kitchen and the fact that there's more room for a larger fan. But they also tend to be more expensive.
Downdraft exhausts are notoriously poor at venting cooking fumes and grease because they're fighting gravity and often don't have enough power to properly pull grease particles and cooking odors downward and out the vent. However, some models have vastly improved in recent years, and they could work very well with the slightly lower demands of induction cooking.
- Good solution for island and peninsula cooktops.
- Very cool aesthetics.
- May work well with induction, which has lower demands than gas cooktops.
How Do You Know Which Type of Range Hood You Need?
If you're putting in a new range hood, you can install pretty much any type you want. Contractors can make just about any-shaped ducting work--you just have to be willing to pay for it.
(This even goes for ceiling mounts in a 2-story house--ducting can pass between the floors if that's the look you're after.)
However, if money is an object for you, then you're limited by your existing kitchen layout (and/or the budget you've designated for a range hood). If you have cupboards over your range or cooktop, an undermount is probably the cheapest solution. If your range/cooktop is on an outside wall, then you can install a wall-mount pretty easily. If your cooktop is on an island, then you're best going with a ceiling-mount or a downdraft.
You also want to think about usability, durability, and longevity. Ceiling mounts are very popular range hoods right now, but many of them aren't as powerful as wall-mounted hoods. Many of the currently stylish ones don't offer a lot of exhaust power.
Wall-mounted hoods probably offer the most options in terms of power and durability. If you want a robust exhaust at a compelling price, a wall-mounted range hood is probably your best bet.
What Size Range Hood Do You Need?
Ideally, the hood should extend a few inches around each side of the cooktop. For example, if you have a 30-inch cooktop, your should have a 36-inch hood. This ensures the best possible coverage and most efficient exhaust.
However, the vast majority of kitchens are designed for the hood to be the same size as the cooktop; if you have a 30-inch cooktop, you probably only have room for a 30-inch range hood.
It's not the end of the world. The hood will still work. However, if you're in this situation, you may want to get a more powerful hood (that is, a higher CFM rating) to ensure good ventilation.
And of course, island cooktops avoid this problem entirely because they're not encumbered by cupboards. If your cooktop is not bordered by upper cupboards, then you're free to get whatever size hood you want.
How Much Power Should a Range Hood Have?
Because induction cooking is inherently cooler than other types of cooking, you may be able to get away with a less powerful hood than you would need for a gas stove. However, before making this decision, you should know a bit about how power is measured in range hoods and what those measurements mean.
Power in range hoods is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFMs), and it is a complicated issue. You need to take a lot of factors into account when deciding how powerful your range hood should be.
Ducting: The more ducting to the outside, the less the CFM rating means. So if you have a lot of ducting, and if it has many twists and turns, you may want a more powerful exhaust to compensate for that. The Home Ventilating Institute recommends at least 100 CFM per linear foot of range for a range hoods installed against a wall and 150 CFM for island hoods.
Duct diameter: Be sure to use ducting of the diameter recommenced by the manufacturer. If your ducting is too small, this will negatively affect the hood's ability to ventilate your kitchen properly.
Room size: A smaller kitchen will need less ventilation than a larger one.
Insulation in your home: If you have a very tightly insulated house, you must be sure to have a proper system of make-up air (MUA). If you don't, the hood will create a negative air flow (a vacuum), which will cause it not to work properly. This may also apply to any house in the case of a very powerful range hood (typically, above 600 CFM or so): you may have to create a source of MUA in order for the exhaust fan to do its job.
In some areas, MUA is regulated by law. Make sure you know the building codes in your area.
Fan Type: Centrifugal fans tend to do a better job suctioning and exhausting air than flat fans even if they (the flat fans) have the same rating. Flat fans are very stylish right now, and they also tend to be cheaper. If you go with a flat fan, you may want to choose one with a higher CFM rating.
Having said all that, most residential cooktops do well with a 300-600 CFM range hood. Go below that, and you risk having a noisy appliance that doesn't do much. Go above that, and you may be spending on something you don't need.
Here's an excerpt from the Lowe's website about how much power a range hood should have:
The power or air movement for range hoods is measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute). If you do a lot of heavy cooking that involves steam or strong odors, get a range hood with at least 350 CFM. For high-output gas ranges or cooktops, the minimum rate of 1 CFM of ventilation per 100 BTU (British thermal units) is recommended. For example, if your burner output is 45,000 BTUs, look for a range hood that provides 450 CFM to best clear the air.
Which Range Hood Should You Buy?
Selecting the right range hood can be a difficult process because
- It has to be, above all, functional.
- It has to fit with your kitchen design and the aesthetic you're looking for. If you don't like how it looks, working in your kitchen every day will be drudgery.
You can't make the mistake of buying only for design, because the hood may be worthless. Conversely, you can't just pick one with the most powerful fan.
Once you've decided on the type of hood (e.g., under-cabinet, wall-mount, ceiling-mount, or downdraft) you want and how powerful you want it to be, you've gone a long way toward making a decision.
Here are some other considerations when shopping for a range hood:
Sound: A sone is a unit of loudness used to measure the noise of range hoods. One sone is about equal to the sound of a refrigerator running. Normal conversations take place at about 4 sones, and light traffic is around 8 sones. The higher the CFM of the range hood, the higher its sone rating will probably be.
The sone rating is usually measured at a range hood's highest fan output. This means that at lower speeds, it will be quieter. In general, a 300 CFM fan will have a sone rating around 4 (a conversation). At lower speeds, the sone rating can go down as low as 1 (a running refrigerator).
While you may want a more powerful fan, these are basic guidelines for a good sone rating.
Lighting: One great advantage to hoods is that they can provide direct overhead work lighting--and lighting is an extremely important thing for optimal working conditions.
Most range hoods have lighting, but make sure before you buy--unless you have another source of good lighting over your cooktop, you want a hood that offers it.
Adjustable lighting is also a nice feature if you want ambient lighting when not working in the kitchen.
Fan Speed: You want to have at least two fan speeds. Hoods running at full speed are loud, so you'll be happy to have a slower (and quieter) fan speed for light duty jobs.
Ease of Installation: Unless you're experienced at duct work, you should have a ducted range hood installed by a professional. If you want to do it yourself, try to select a hood with a fairly straightforward installation procedure. (You can thank me for this later.)
How do you determine the complexity of the installation procedure? Look at the manufacturer's website, which usually has PDF downloads for the manuals that come with their products. Download the Installation Manual PDF (and, most importantly, read it).
The only exception is, of course, a ductless hood, which is a fairly straightforward installation.
Additional Features: You can also select from many special features you may want in a hood like automatic shutoff, filter change indicator lights, and a heat sensor that automatically adjusts blower speed. My old Viking hood has heat lamps and a warming shelf that I rarely make use of.
Point being, all of these extras can be nice, but make sure you'll use them before you pay for them.
How Much Do Range Hoods Cost?
Range hoods come in a huge price range (forgive the bad pun). They start around $100 and you can spend thousands on a high-powered, state-of-the-art model. As with most purchases, your sweet spot will probably be somewhere in the middle.
Even with an induction cooktop, a range hood is probably a necessary investment for most people. Armed with good information, you can make a sound, rational choice about which one to buy.