Kitchen Range Hoods Explained

We all love walking into a great looking kitchen and when we think about kitchen remodels, we tend to discuss things like cabinets, tile, kitchen countertops, what kind of sink we want to install, how we want our backsplash to look – the list goes on and on.

One thing people tend to overlook is kitchen ventilation and hood fans, because we usually consider form over function. But your kitchen’s ventilation system plays a vital role in your kitchen design, and in this quick blog post, we are going to look underneath the “hood” so to speak and learn all about kitchen hood fans.

Before we can truly delve into the different types of range hoods, you really need to understand some of the terminology associated with them. In this article, we will discuss some of the “must know” lingo and follow up with another article on the different types of kitchen range hoods in a later article. With that in mind, pop on your learning cap – its time to get educated!

What are CFMs?

The acronym CFM stands for Cubic Feet per Minute and is a measure of the amount of air (and the particles in that air) a range hood is capable of removing each minute it is in use.

Determining the amount of CFMs your kitchen needs depends mostly on two things – how often you cook and the type of stove you have. As a rule of thumb, gas stoves require anywhere from 600-1200 CFMs while an electric range needs to be between 300-450 CFMs. To determine the number of CFMs for your gas stove, simply divide the BTU number of the unit by 100, or better yet, consult a qualified kitchen remodeler.

What are Range Hood Blowers

If you have ever been in a home with a poor kitchen design, you’ve likely heard what sounds like a jet flying through the kitchen while the homeowner cooks. Part of this crazy noise level has to do with the type of blower their range hood fan uses, or more precisely, the location of the blower.

There are three general locations a blower can reside in: the body, external and inline.

Blowers in the body of the appliance are usually the culprit in loud units. External blowers can be costly, but reduce noise the most, while inline blowers (located in the actual duct run) offer a sort of midway point between the two in terms of noise reduction.

Sones and Range Hoods

To follow-up with the topic of noise, sones are the actual measurement of noise or sound level you can expect from a system. A typical fan has 3 or more levels of speed they can operate, and the higher the speed, the higher the sones or louder the sound. Look for sone ratings on your range hoods and remember the lower, the quieter.

Defining Capture Area

The capture area of a range hood is essentially a measurement of the system: how deep the hood is, the width, and so forth. The capture area should be such that the fan width is the same as the range width, and the depth is enough to cover the back and front burners (ideally).

Other factors to consider of course is the amount of available space in the kitchen, the shape of the range hood, aesthetics, and issues of that nature.

Measuring Mounting Height

Another measurement that needs to be considered is the mounting height, or the measurement of space between the hood range’s filter and the stove’s burners. The higher up the range hood, the less it will be able to vent (or the more power you will need), but at the same time, a hood that is too low can impede your cooking ability as it lowers further into your line of sight.

Ease of Access and Cleaning for Grease Filters

Part of your range hood’s function is to trap grease and particles in its filtering system. Usually these filters are easy to remove and clean, but ease of access and the method you use to clean them is something you should consider when choosing your system.

Another method of air cleansing is a recirculation kit, which uses a carbon filter to help clean the air of grease and particles. The kit essentially removes these unwanted particles from your air and then pushes the clean air back into your kitchen space.


Now that we understand some of the lingo involved with kitchen range hoods, we can begin the process of choosing the right system for our kitchen needs. We will follow up with a future article on how to choose the right range hood for your kitchen remodel soon, so stay tuned!