New Vent Hood
July 27, 2021 12:10 PM   Subscribe

I need to install a new vent hood. My original 1950s vent hood is both underpowered and hopelessly mucky. I'd like a very good, efficient hood to replace it. Have you shopped for oven hoods? What are your must-haves? What's a great value? Please share your tips for finding the best hood for our needs!
posted by amanda to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have useful info but you might want to clarify whether your hood has an external exhaust or is one that simply filters and recirculates the air.
posted by anadem at 1:03 PM on July 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

I found it was very important that the fan be as quiet as possible. You'll be more likely to use it. It is too easy to get into the habit of not running a noisy fan.
posted by TORunner at 1:06 PM on July 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

I wanted one that was as quiet as possible over everything else with a max budget of $1000. I didn't find it. Instead of making them quiet, they add nonsense features like bluetooth.

I also wanted one that was ceiling mounted because my cooktop is on my island, so I got this one or it's version from 4 years ago. It's not quiet, but it works fine.

This is a decent review of some different models and considerations when purchasing one.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:09 PM on July 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

I got mine from a reno shop that serves the local Chinese community here in Toronto. They had powerful hoods for very reasonable prices compared to the big box stores. Chinese dishes often require very high heat and many Chinese households install very powerful vent hoods. You might want to consider investigating if a similar retailer is in your community, as it was by far the best value I could find.
posted by sid at 1:23 PM on July 27, 2021 [4 favorites]

I have a Zephyr brand that I like. Really the only features I need are a good light and a strong fan. The fan has three settings but I only ever use the highest setting because it really only goes on when Burning Is Happening. Remember all the power in the world won't matter if the pipe going outside isn't the right size.

I only just noticed it has a timer feature that I have never, ever used. Light and a fan, that's all I need.
posted by bondcliff at 1:30 PM on July 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

I shopped long and hard for a vent hood for our kitchen a few years back, and got one (from Ikea) that I'm... grudgingly happy with, I guess. Sorta. Okay, I'm not all that happy with it. It kinda sucks (but not in the good way that it's supposed to). I've begun to believe that basically all residential range hoods just kinda suck.

The one we got is now discontinued, but is closest to the Ikea Bemöta; it's a wall-mounted one with angled intakes and a 6" duct to the outside (one 90-deg bend). Perhaps it would work better if it had a bigger exhaust duct, I can't say. I think it runs about 700-800 CFM, although I assume that's under ideal conditions and doesn't take into account exhaust ducting and other practical considerations.

The biggest issue is that it just doesn't extend far enough out into the room. It works okay at capturing steam/smoke/fumes from the rear two burners on the stove below, but doesn't do a great job at catching anything produced on the front two burners, which is where we do the majority of our "heavy" cooking (sauteeing, frying, etc.). Anything produced by pans on the front burners just wafts up in front of the hood, which isn't powerful enough to "grab" it. And that's true even when it's turned up to its maximum (howlingly loud) speed and all of the grease filters have been removed. It also has membrane-switch controls that are starting to wear out after about 5 years of occasional usage. Junky.

I have determined that when I finally have an excuse to replace it, I'm going to get one like this. Either 1200 or 1300 CFM depending on blower, discrete mechanical controls (no goddamn membrane switches on circuit boards), and most importantly it extends a good 24" or so out from the wall. I'll probably need to re-duct it with 8 or 10" duct as well, which is why I haven't done it.

N.B. that modern building codes in the US require a "makeup air" intake for all vent hoods that pull more than 400 CFM. This seems to be widely ignored, but in theory you could get backdrafting from chimneys and (more seriously) gas-fired appliance vents like water heaters elsewhere in the house. This can substantially increase the cost of an exhaust vent system. My thought is that it can probably be ignored if you are conscientious about opening a window when running the hood at full blast.

FWIW, the very best "vent hood" I've used wasn't really a vent hood at all, it was one of those 1950s Nutone through-the-wall fans that you sometimes see in older homes (if they haven't been unfortunately removed) located on the wall about 24" above the stove. That thing worked. You could smoke a cigar while standing over the stove and nobody in the room would smell it. If you happen to have one of those, don't give it up!
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:58 PM on July 27, 2021 [3 favorites]

I have a exhaust fan like the ones in the link from Kadin2048, it is almost identical to this one with LCD touch controls. I bought it around 8 years ago. The LCD touch controls are horrible. They have gone nuts and activate and deactivate randomly. Over time it has only gotten worse. It is like a spiteful gremlin that haunts my house.
posted by bdc34 at 2:12 PM on July 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

I have an IKEA hood that maxxes out at 700 cfm. I'll note two things: first, trivial, but not, the labels for the buttons have long since washed off. And because a vent hood does get grease on it, cleaning needs to happen. So we have to memorize that the 'stop' button is the 2nd one.

Second, a quirk of our house meant that the hood is installed probably 2 feet above the cooktop -- it's right at eye level. Probably not to code. But it does pull steam and smoke right up out of pots on either front or back burners, and I love it for that reason. I suspect it's more effective than the hoods that are like 5' above the cooktop. Something to consider (I should advise you and me both to check building code).
posted by Dashy at 3:17 PM on July 27, 2021

Response by poster: It has an external exhaust - no recirculating. No gas.
posted by amanda at 3:47 PM on July 27, 2021

We have a Zephyr wall-mounted fan that vents outside the house. The range is along a kitchen wall that faces the outside of the house, which allowed us to use an elbowed exhaust vent. Where your range is located may constrain your venting options.

The fan has five settings and can either be quiet or very loud, depending on how much smoke etc. needs to be vented. The lights are great and there is a timer to automatically shut off the light and fan after a set period of time. These may be features of interest to you.

The oily smoke flows through metal baffles. While the baffles can be removed for cleaning — and the hood will try to remind you when to do this — they are very difficult to clean. Running them through the dishwasher does not remove all the accumulated grease, but hopefully does a decent enough job to get some of the gunk off so that the fire risk is reduced. If this is a concern to you, you may want to look for a vent where the filter units can be replaced or cleaned more easily.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:59 PM on July 27, 2021

Do you cook regularly? I’ve looked into shoehorning smaller commercial units into my home because the CFM Is sometimes triple (!) the capacity for a similarly sized unit, the only problem is they don’t post decibel specs on hardly any of them (residential or commercial). Some commercial units are noisy, but so are plenty of residential ones. Lots of hoods need beautification and encasement anyway, so it’s not like you’re way off the beaten path there. I am aiming for commercial units for our home because they’re actually tested for safety and pass labor standards; home versions are not necessarily so. As far as my research as found, there’s no requirement for hoods to meet any specification other than standard electrical safety stuff. This is why garbage recirculating hoods are allowed to be sold. Basically, if it’s good enough for a line cook to stand under for a shift, even the smallest one will likely be good enough for a home with all restaurant supply used in a home environment, they’ll likely survive longer than any of us will.

If you have a hood installed now, don’t mind/enjoy your current aesthetic and you’re at all comfortable rewiring appliances, you may want to look around for similarly sized, but more powerful fan or blower than what you have in your current unit. Years ago I lived in an apartment with an absentee owner and instead of dealing with the landlord hassle just replaced a busted blower with some otherworldly uber-blower from grainger and it was hilariously powerful. I got my deposit back, and it was by far the quietest, most powerful kitchen hood I’ve ever lived with.

Locally the folks down at Conrey have a banana-pants amount of different squirrel cages, blowers and fans thrust can be hooked up to all matter of units. They can Frankenstein your hood right up, if you’re interested in that route.
posted by furnace.heart at 5:37 PM on July 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Decent vent hoods are spendy. Venting to the outside is a must; how many CFM it can move quietly and ease of cleaning. I had a 36" Vent-a-Hood over a similar-sized gas range. It vented OK but was a bear to clean so I would recommend having the vent hood be wider than the range top because a lot of range tops have the most used burner on the edge instead of center. I am about to go with a 90cm vent by Qasir which is quiet and designed specifically for induction ranges with easily removed and washable filters.

Be sure to get your vent expert installed and make sure that oil does not collect in weird ways. Another thing to note is that some makers insist on a specialist install for the warranty to be valid so make a note of that.

You may be able to score discounted designer stove hoods due to expensive shop returns or even used from a posh home remodel. Also, end of fiscal year sales as an option for price breaks. Proper venting is important so avoid, at all cost, "contractor grade" vent systems.

It may be worth your time to go to a high-end appliance store that actually will demo their equipment. If you are fortunate, find an appliance store where the salespeople are NOT commission-based. The opinions end up being way more neutral and the sales pitch is not as hard.
posted by jadepearl at 6:01 AM on July 28, 2021

high cfm, and definitely a remote blower— so much quieter.
posted by waving at 6:09 AM on July 28, 2021

Sid's idea is a good one. The big name on the west coast is Pacific (Taiwanese brand). Here's a link to authorized dealers outside of CA.
posted by extramundane at 9:00 AM on July 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

My family is Chinese and my parents looooove their new Fotile range hood. They've been wanting something powerful enough to handle stir frying for a long time, and I think they sought out this Chinese brand in particular. I didn't catch all the details but they were especially excited because there's something about how the grease trap is oriented that makes it less drippy and easier to keep clean than whatever the standard American design is. I'm not sure how these stack up on noise if that's a concern for you though.
posted by yeahlikethat at 9:26 AM on July 28, 2021 [2 favorites]

If you are planning to wash the filter screens in your dishwasher, measure them and be sure they will actually fit in your dishwasher.
posted by bink at 3:51 PM on July 29, 2021

« Older Searching the web without pictures   |   Need working software/OS for a legacy... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments