What's the difference between an exhaust hood and an exhaust fan?
October 4, 2014 6:58 PM   Subscribe

Ikea sells "exhaust hoods" like this Luftig for $379, and it sells "exhaust fans" like this Luftig for $99. How are they different that's worth $280? It can't be just the extra stainless steel and faux industrial style since this Eventuell which mounts under a cabinet sells for $499.

Its not that one kind vents out and the other re-circulates; both the cheap ones that the pricey ones adapt to either function. The expensive ones have more powerful fans - 385-400 CFM vs 225. The expensive ones are as noisy or noisier than the cheap ones - 7.3 cfm vs 6.5. I get that more CFM means a more powerful motor, but why is the increase in price so steep?

Context: Electric stove. Medium quantity of cooking. No big regular fry-ups or anything like that. It'll be vented out. Kitchen is about 10x8. There's lots of other windows and doors for air circulation. I don't think I'll need more than about 250-300 cfm.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Context: Electric stove.

Get the cheap one. required CFM of ventilation and potentially, make-up air are gas stove problems. The extra price is for the stainless and the higher CFM.

The last one you listed appears to use at least two blowers, and seems to be designed for a very wide stove.

Also, the cheapest one shown there just uses a standard bladed fan. I bet the more expensive ones use some kind of squirrel cage blower setup to move more air. It's basically the cheapest range hood from home depot plus some cabinetry.

...and that's also the type of thing that like, every electric stove everywhere i've ever lived used.
posted by emptythought at 7:09 PM on October 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

The CFM difference might not seem like a lot on paper, but is probably fundamentally mechanically different: blower versus fan. Fans create wind, but blowers move serious air.

If you find your kitchen ever getting smoky or a film of aerosolized oil landing on flat surfaces, I'd get the bigger one. (Wish I could put one in myself.) Otherwise, you're probably fine with the smaller one.
posted by supercres at 7:17 PM on October 4, 2014

Also consider your cabinets. If you have the kind that are easy to wipe down, then a mild one will do. If you have anything fabric-covered or unpainted wood or other grease-trapping materials in your kitchen, a better hood will save you time in cleaning. We have a strong one for heavy cooking, and have to replace the light shades we used and monitor the top of our fridge because grease builds up. Our cabinets are all easy to wipe down, but I've had a kitchen without any hood and it was a PITA to have to wipe down the cabinets every other day completely to prevent the grease. I would not consider a weak hood if I had a country-cute kitchen with lots of curtains and things to clean, only an easy-care place.
posted by viggorlijah at 7:36 PM on October 4, 2014

Dammit I keep going back and forth on this. It looks like the less expesive Luftig doesn't provide as much wattage for lighting the stove surface - which I find important and useful. The more expensive Luftig is more attractive to me but doesn't grant as much space for above-stove storage.

Fuck it. It's a tool. I vote EVENTUELL because lighting and storage.
posted by vapidave at 8:52 PM on October 4, 2014

My instinct would be to think they're engineered differently based on that language. A "fan" I would think is just a fan. It moves some air. Whatever goes in, goes in. A "hood" would lead me to believe that the whole system, fan and housing, is engineered to have a defined work space volume in which air flow will be above some minimum spec. Like, if any smoke or vapor is generated in this imaginary box, it is guaranteed to go up the ventilation and not out into the room.

That's probably not true for consumer items; marketing tends to be pretty loose with the terminology. It would probably not even be possible for Ikea to engineer a hood the way I'm thinking of it without seeing and measuring your kitchen. In Ikea language "hood" probably just means "set containing fan and shiny housing."
posted by ctmf at 10:13 PM on October 4, 2014

If you don't fry much and you aren't an avid cook, go with what fits in your budget and looks the prettiest in your kitchen. If it isn't being sucked up and vented out of the house then it isn't doing much anyway. Try and get the quietest one, though, the loud ones never get used because no one wants to cook with a roar.
posted by myselfasme at 6:12 AM on October 5, 2014

Also consider noise. Will there be people hanging around in your kitchen while you're cooking? If the kitchen is an extension of your entertainment space, paying a bit more for a quieter exhaust fan can be a bit win.
posted by dws at 7:02 PM on October 5, 2014

Another random detail i just thought of:

The really cheap type of fan, like the $99 version you linked, can not handle any backpressure at all. If won't blow smoke up a very long pipe, and it won't be able to open much of a pressure actuated damper. Unless the vent goes 3 feet straight out the wall, or just out an open chimney or something it's going to do something between struggle and not much of anything.

The blower type fans are much, much better at this. It isn't just a matter of CFM, but also static pressure. The cheap fan-type ones have essentially none of that. Which is also why that type of fan is usually borderline useless as a bathroom fan in most circumstances.
posted by emptythought at 10:02 PM on October 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

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