Which insert range hood is best?
Insert range hoods are designed to be built into the cabinetry above a cooking range. They use a powerful fan with either filters or ducting to remove steam, oil and odors from the kitchen while cooking, thus preventing greasy walls and surfaces. They can either be completely concealed in a purpose-built housing or mounted to the underside of the cabinet.
There are many different designs available for different types and sizes of ranges. The Broan-NuTone PM390 Power Pack Range Hood Insert is designed for a 20-inch range and has a powder-coated silver finish and built-in lights. Alternatively, there are plenty of other options for wider ranges and with different features.
What to know before you buy an insert range hood
Ducted vs. unducted
Deciding whether you need a ducted hood depends on several factors. A ducted hood needs either a 4- or 6-inch flexible pipe that vents to the outside. This means the hood needs to be on an outside wall or the flexible pipe needs to run through the cabinets, taking up valuable space.
Unducted models use carbon filters instead, which need replacing regularly but are often more compact. Additionally, ducted hoods tend to have a more powerful extractor fan, making them a better choice for those who like to cook more frequently.
An insert range hood should be the same width as the cooktop. Ensure that the housing of the hood isn’t too big for the internal dimensions of the cabinet. If you are installing a new kitchen, it may be possible to purpose-build a matching cabinet. However, if space is limited, it may be better to choose a surface-mounted hood that attaches to the underside of the cabinets.
Most hoods are made from aluminum or stainless steel, which is a good choice for kitchens as they are corrosion-resistant. Some models have a painted finish, making it easy to match them with your decor and your existing appliances. With many concealed hoods, the only visible parts are the vent grills, lights and control panel.
What to look for in a quality insert range hood
Generally, the greater the heat output of the range, the more powerful the hood needs to be. Extractor fans are measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM) — 350 CFM is recommended for households that cook regularly, while 500 CFM may be needed for large ranges with powerful burners. Look for a model with variable speed control for more versatility.
You can opt for a hood with different features. Most have a built-in light, with some models having up to four. Some have digital control panels that incorporate timers, warning indicators and sensors to control the fan speed. An auto shut-off is a handy feature that keeps the fan running to clear the air after cooking then turns it off to save electricity.
Keeping a cooker hood clean can be tiresome, as they collect a lot of grease that becomes sticky and difficult to remove. Look for a model with removable mesh filters that can be placed in a dishwasher. This also allows access to the interior of the hood, which should be cleaned periodically using a mild detergent.
How much you can expect to spend on an insert range hood
It is possible to find a hood for less than $100; however, in this price range, the fan may be underpowered for busy kitchens. For a stainless steel model with multiple lights and digital controls, expect to pay $250-$500.
Insert range hood FAQ
Can insert range hoods be installed at any height?
A. Although there is some leeway with installation height, care should be taken. If it is too low, it may be damaged from the heat, but if it is too high, it will be ineffective. Between 28 and 36 inches is the optimum height in most cases.
Does an insert range hood need to be installed by a professional?
A. A surface-mounted hood with internal filters only requires fastening to the cabinet and plugging into an electrical outlet. Fully concealed hoods are more complicated to install, especially if they need venting, which may require drilling a large diameter hole in an external wall.
What’s the best insert range hood to buy?
Top insert range hood
What you need to know: This compact hood is suitable for a 20-inch range.
What you’ll love: It provides 390 CMF and has a one-piece, machine washable aluminum mesh filter. It has a built-in heat sensor that automatically adjusts the blower.
What you should consider: It must be ducted to the outside and can’t be used with carbon filters.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top insert range hood for the money
What you need to know: This slimline hood is 36 inches wide and mounts to the underside of the kitchen cabinets.
What you’ll love: It can be converted to work with or without a duct. It has a modern stainless steel finish with chrome push buttons and twin lights.
What you should consider: To use this as a ductless hood, the carbon filters must be purchased separately.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This extra-wide concealed hood is designed to be built into the cabinets and has a powerful extractor fan.
What you’ll love: It has three removable mesh filters and two LED lights. It has electronic controls with three speed settings and a convenient delayed auto-shutoff function.
What you should consider: It can be quite noisy at full power.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Chris Gillespie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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