The Broan-NuTone 413004 Ductless Range Hood blew away the competition.
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We’ve all experienced the startling annoyance of the smoke detector going off while cooking, whether from an intentional sear or a forgotten bag of popcorn. Not to mention the lingering smells in the air long after the meal, especially with highly pungent smells like those produced from frying or cooking your favorite seafood. The built-in fan over the stove, or the range hood, is usually used to dissipate the smoke and smells produced from cooking.
Many residential range hoods are ductless, meaning they don’t expel the air outside the building. Ducted hoods can sometimes be found in residential homes as well, especially newer homes with ‘chef’s kitchen’ type renovations. But not all range hoods are created equal. The best ductless range hoods have powerful fans to recirculate the air efficiently and high-quality filters that can reduce the majority of contaminants in the air. We rounded up our favorites that hit all these marks (and more!), with the Broan-NuTone 413004 Ductless Range Hood snagging our top spot for its overall performance. Still, there’s an option for any kitchen type.
Pros: This hood has excellent suction and an aesthetically pleasing design.
Cons: The aluminum filters aren’t very durable or easy to clean.
Jessica Randhawa, head chef, recipe creator, photographer, and writer at The Forked Spoon, chose this hood as her favorite, calling it “a quality, yet reasonably priced ductless range hood.” We love the high sucking power of this hood; it outperforms other hoods with higher measurements of airflow volume, so you get a high value for the price. The stainless finish is easy to clean and looks stunning among your kitchen appliances. That said, the built-in aluminum filters aren’t dishwasher safe and need to be regularly removed and cleaned by hand, and eventually, they wear out and need to be replaced.
Price at time of publish: $119
Pros: Fairly priced and easy to use.
Cons: The fan on this hood is not as powerful as other comparable models.
We all love a good deal, and this hood is an exceptional value for the price. This hood is no-nonsense and gets the job done without any extra buttons or unnecessary features. It’s easy to use and has just two switches and a compact profile to integrate into your kitchen design seamlessly. It’s important to note that the fan is not as powerful as some other “under-cabinet” models, and it doesn't recirculate quite as hard as we’d like.
Price at time of publish: $80
Pros: This hood has user-friendly smart features and a streamlined profile.
Cons: The vents in this hood don’t stay snugly in place.
This hood is undoubtedly one of the most comprehensive on the market. It’s wifi capable so that it can be controlled via voice command, on your phone or tablet, or with the included remote control. And the handy smart features don’t stop there; this hood has a Chef Connect setting where you can sync the hood to function in tandem with your range. The only downside is that while the slide-in filters are convenient and contribute to the smooth design, they don’t lock in place, so they can rattle around or slide out of alignment between washes.
Price at time of publish: $828
Pros: This luxuriously designed hood is easy to clean and has a lot of versatility with multiple speeds.
Cons: The robust design is specialized and doesn’t necessarily fit with every kitchen design.
We loved the flexibility of this hood because, unlike others that only have two or three settings, this hood has four fan strengths that match every task. The impressive design is a showstopper, perfect for the kitchen that needs a functional statement piece. One of the best things about this hood is how easy it is to clean, the stainless finish wipes clean, and the filters are dishwasher safe.
Price at time of publish: $360
Pros: The stainless finish is pleasing, and the multi-layer filters are ideal.
Cons: The light on this hood can feel too dim.
This sleek stainless hood is well-designed and will look right at home with any other stainless steel appliances for an under-the-cabinet option. Since ductless hoods filter the air back into your kitchen, the filtration needs to be top-notch. We love that this one has multiple layers of aluminum mesh filters that are great for filtering cooking oil, plus the option to install carbon filters for ductless. The back of the hood has a built-in led light, but it’s not as thorough and bright as we wish it were.
Price at time of publish: $105
Pros: This compact hood is great for small kitchens and is extremely powerful for its size.
Cons: The vents on this hood are relatively small.
This insert is perfect for those looking for a low-profile hood that looks almost flat against a surface. Since this model is an insert style, there isn’t much room, and at only six inches, these vents are pretty small. The hood has a 600 CFM fan, which is relatively strong but less powerful overall than other hoods with larger vents. The high CFM, coupled with the small footprint, is excellent for folks with small kitchens or compact spaces needing the power of a more oversized hood in half the space.
Price at time of publish: $220
Pros: This aesthetically pleasing unit is extremely quiet, and we love the super-powerful fan.
Cons: The buttons on this hood can be hard to read.
This ultra-sleek and versatile brushed stainless steel hood looks great in almost any kitchen; it’s an excellent choice for any cook looking for something quieter. It hovers around 25 decibels on the lowest setting, a bit louder than an idle refrigerator, and hits about 56 decibels on the highest setting, no louder than a lively conversation indoors. This is astonishingly quiet compared to other hoods, especially ones with this much power. Speaking of power, this hood packs a wallop with 860 CFM, which is an impressive amount of airflow. Our only complaint is that the buttons are small and can be challenging to read.
Price at time of publish: $389
Pros: The design of this hood is beautiful and functional, and the buttonless display is convenient and easy to use.
Cons: The filters are sold separately to make this hood ductless.
With its clean lines and streamlined modern design, this hood will catch your eye the second you walk into the kitchen. The facade isn’t cluttered with tons of buttons or a digital read-out, so it seamlessly incorporates into the landscape of your kitchen. The display has three settings, a delay shutoff, and no pesky nooks and crannies around buttons for grease to get trapped. The only snag with this model is that the filters to make it ductless are sold separately, so you have to make a secondary purchase from the brand and invest a bit more money in the setup as a whole.
Price at time of publish: $333
The Broan-NuTone 413004 Ductless Range Hood exceeded our expectations on all metrics and took the well-earned number-one spot on our list. If you have a bit more wiggle room in your budget, we highly recommend the GE 36-inch Smart Designer Custom Insert Range Hood for its state-of-the-art smart features and super user-friendly design.
You have a few choices regarding the installation type for range hoods: wall mount, under-cabinet, or insert. Your current kitchen design dictates which is right for you. If you’re renovating a kitchen or building a new kitchen from scratch, you might have more than one option. Consider design and lifestyle when deciding which installation is suitable for you.
Size might be the most crucial factor to consider when shopping. Too large or too small, even by fractions of an inch, can mean disaster. So take careful measurements and double-check that the hood you pick will comfortably fit within them. Nothing is worse than going through all the installation trouble only to find out your shiny new hood doesn’t fit.
The fan's speed directly expresses how strong the hood is and how well it recirculates air. For range hoods, this is measured in CFM, or cubic feet per minute. This number tells you how much volume or air is pushed through the fan each minute. More air means better circulation. This is important to consider based on the size and layout of your kitchen and your cooking type. For example, a small kitchen in a home without an open layout for air to move freely will likely need a higher CFM hood to filter the air effectively. Larger kitchens, or those connected to other rooms where air can move around more freely, don’t need as much power since there’s more space for the air to mix. Additionally, suppose you’re often working on cooking projects that require high heat or lots of smoke. In that case, you’ll want a stronger fan with a higher CFM to dissipate that air, keep your kitchen from being overly polluted, and set off the smoke alarm.
Most ductless range filters will have an aluminum filter, charcoal filter, or a combination of both. Aluminum or metal mesh filters best filter out debris and oil and can help keep your range clean. Charcoal filters are for the much smaller particles; they absorb the particulates in smoke and some other small, aerosolized particles that may be lingering in the air as a result of cooking or even chemical reactions that can occur. The filter that will result in the “cleanest” or most well-recirculated air is actually a combination of the two.
Consider the finish and style of the other kitchen appliances when choosing which suits you best — brushed stainless steel? Sleek black? Big hood? Or a hidden profile? The visual appeal of your new hood is almost as important as its functionality. For example, a large, angular stainless wall mount hood might look cool online or in a showroom, but if your kitchen is small and is outfitted with black, less modern appliances, it will indeed look out of place.
Some homes, like restaurant kitchens, are equipped with ducted hoods that suck air up into a vent and expel it out of a vented cutout in the exterior of the building, so the air leaves the kitchen entirely. Ductless hoods circulate the air through a series of filters to “clean it” and push it back into the room. Barry Schneider from the European Kitchen Center is the lead designer, owner, and operator of the custom kitchen design space in Brooklyn, New York. He notes an important distinction between the two varieties: “A ductless hood is often referred to as a recirculating hood. It intakes the air above the cooktop and eliminates food odors by running the air through a built-in charcoal or carbon filter. The resulting clean air is discharged back into the room.”
Range hoods usually come in either wall mount, under-cabinet, or insert varieties. All three are very straightforward — wall mount hoods are installed over the range spanning up the wall. Under-cabinet hoods are for kitchens where the range is situated under upper cabinets, and the hood can be attached to the bottom of the existing cabinets. Finally, an insert requires some cut-out and can be slid into place, giving the illusion of a flat profile.
For most home cooks, a ductless range hood will get the job done. Technically, they aren’t as efficient as ducted hoods, and in that way, they really aren’t as good. But most of us aren’t concocting restaurant-level creations that produce vast plumes of smoke or have gas ranges that make tall towers of fire on the burners. So with a good quality ductless range hood, most home cooks won’t miss the benefits of a ducted variety.
The installation type is the most critical factor when shopping for the best range hood. No need to waste time perusing wall-mounted models when you need an under-cabinet hood. Next, keep your budget and a range of costs in mind while considering what features are most valuable to you. Finally, think about your daily cooking. Smart features are great for a busy, active cook who makes multi-component meals often. But a more casual cook who isn’t often making large meals might feel a more pared-down model is a better match.
Wall Hood Nick DeSimone wrote and researched this list. They have spent nearly a decade in professional kitchens leaning over ranges and standing under range hoods. Nick is also an avid home cook and has spent time cooking in many different home kitchens with nearly every type of ductless range hood. They also spoke to a few experts to get their insights. Barry Schneider is the owner of the European Kitchen Center in Brooklyn. His entire job is outfitting kitchens with the best appliances for their design, so he’s no stranger to all the strengths and weaknesses of ductless range hoods. Nick also spoke to Jessica Randhawa from The Forked Spoon. Randhawa’s blog is dedicated to helping home cooks find easy and delicious everyday recipes, so she knows what the average home cook needs from a range hood.