An exhaust hood, also called extractor hood, or range hood is a device that has a mechanical fan hanging above the stove or your cooktop in the kitchen. It helps to remove odors, airborne grease, fumes, combustion products, smoke, heat, and steam from the air by evacuation of the air and filtration.

Range hoods are no longer the simple, practical vent they used to be. Coming now in a variety of styles and materials, range vents can truly be a showcase of your kitchen design.

Types of Range Hoods

Depending on the structure of your kitchen and the type of cabinets you have above your countertops, there are a few options.

Under-Cabinet Range Hoods

One of the most common and compact options for range ventilation is the under-cabinet hood type of range. This sort of range hood is mounted underneath the cabinets that are placed directly above your stove. The design of the required ventilation system is simple for the most part and it’s versatile enough to go with any kitchen style.

For proper ventilation, the duct work for the hood is either placed behind the hood out of an exterior wall or up through the cabinet above the hood. This will take away any storage you may want to utilize in your cabinet, but for the most part, this type of hood usually ends up saving a little bit of wall space.

Wall-Mounted Range Hoods

Another range hood that helps preserve space in the kitchen is the wall-mounted hood. This choice of range hood is mounted on the wall above your range.  In many new kitchen designs, instead of having a cabinet in the space over the stove, the hood is usually installed.  For installations with existing cabinetry, one cabinet piece may be removed so as to make way for the hood.  These types of hoods sometimes come with a pipe that helps with the ventilation, and it typically vents out through an exterior opening in the wall behind the cabinets or wall.

Island or Ceiling Mounted Range Hoods

Kitchens having a range located on an island may need to be paired with an island or ceiling mounted hood.  Just like a wall-mounted hood, this type of venting device adds a unique look to your kitchen. Some designs come in a selection of modern materials such as copper, glass or even ceramic.  As this type of range hood may interrupt line of sight in the kitchen, some contractors may choose to install it a bit higher than other types.

Wall Ventilation Fans

Some homeowners love to install a wall ventilation fan in their kitchen in replacement of a range hood. Although, a fan system could be helpful in situations where the ventilation is poor, it may not be the best option to clear out odours or fumes quickly from your kitchen.  Only a powerful range hood can handle keeping your kitchen free from smoke and smells that may come from cooking with various ingredients.  If one skips the step of matching up stove with the right size and pattern of exhaust hood, you may find some small bits of grease building up along the walls of your kitchen.

Downdraft Ventilation Hoods

A less common ventilation system is called a downdraft ventilation hood. This type of exhaust product is kept inside of the cook space hidden away until it’s time to use it. Once you need to run the fan, it pops up along the back of your range. This can be a great solution for kitchens where space is limited. It can also work for stoves that are part of a kitchen island or against the wall. The design for these kinds of ventilation products is unobtrusive and can complement any type of look in your home.

Ventilator Power Pack Hoods

If you don’t like any of the common types of hoods mentioned earlier, you may want to go with the more flawless style of the ventilator power pack. This particular type of kitchen exhaust system can be easily added to existing cabinetry without using up all available space. With a ventilator power pack hood, you don’t need to remove any cabinets or adjust the look of your kitchen. A ventilator power pack hood is small and matches with the parts already installed in your kitchen. If you decide to use this hood type, you need to get a contractor to construct one custom fit into your current kitchen layout.

Ducted or Ductless?

While some of the hood vent choices are simply a matter of preference, others truly impact the basic function of your kitchen. One of those choices is whether to get a ducted or a ductless range hood.

Most designers and chefs would agree that a ducted range hood is superior to the ductless models in several ways.

  Ducted Ductless
Moisture and heat reduction Sends the steam and heat of your cooking through a duct and right out of the house, keeping your kitchen cooler and drier


Filters the particles out of the cooking area, but the heat and moisture stay in the room
Odour reduction Most of the cooking smells are vented directly outside Some of the smell can be filtered but most of it will remain to spread throughout the house
Grease capture Does a great job blowing the greasy air outside Captures most of the greasy air and filters out the grease though its performance will usually be less impressive than that of a ducted model
Maintenance Periodic cleaning of the fan blades to prevent grease buildup Clean or change the filter more often
Noise Makes less fan noise because it does not have to pull the air through a filter Needs more power to operate


The primary advantage of a ductless hood vent is that it is much more versatile in terms of location. It can be installed nearly anywhere in the kitchen since it doesn’t need to be connected to a duct in the walls or ceiling. If you are remodeling your kitchen and you don’t want to install or move ductwork around, then a ductless hood vent gives you more options for where and how you install it.

Final Thoughts

If you are remodeling your kitchen and you already have a duct in place, then a ducted hood vent would make the most sense.  However, if you want to move the location of your hood, or if you do not have a duct in place, then you have to weigh the cost and benefits. You’ll get better performance from a ducted vent, but that performance may or may not be worth the cost of installing new ductwork.

How much does it cost to install a vent hood system?

Many kitchen exhaust fans are part of a range hood, which can cost $30-$4,500, depending on size, type and airflow.  Installation adds another $250-$1,500, depending on whether the project is simply connecting and hanging the range hood, or if new metal ductwork must be installed to exhaust the air outdoors.