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Duct or Ductless Range Hoods: What’s Better?

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Kitchen range hoods used to be simple and utilitarian but have advanced over the recent years to meet the current trends of a modern kitchen. A range hood acts as an enclosure for the area around your cooking canopy that collects smoke, moisture, and fumes emanating from the kitchen. It usually has a mechanical fan that can be turned on and off to pull in the airborne particles and release them to the outdoors. Other design models have a unique filtering system that helps to recycle and refresh the air before taking it back to the kitchen.

This prevents smoke and any unpleasant odors from collecting on your upper cabinets, ceilings, walls, and other kitchen surfaces. The decision to choose between a ducted and ductless range hood is simply a matter of preference and functionality. This article looks at the main differences between a ducted and ductless range hood, and the best way to select the best hood for your kitchen.

What is a Ducted Range Hood?

A ducted range hood is connected to a duct using pipes that channel the airborne particles from the kitchen to the outdoors. However, some designs may limit were to install a ducted range hood based on the availability of ducts in your kitchen. Ducted hoods are mostly found in commercial kitchens but can also be used in residential homes depending on your kitchen layout and cooking habits. This type of hood is preferred by commercial kitchens because it transports greater amounts of smoke, dirty air, and fumes to the outdoors. The exhaust systems of a ducted hood tend to be quieter and run efficiently compared to the ductless designs. However, the level of noise may vary depending on the size, brand, model, and how well you maintain your hood.

What is a Ductless Range Hood?

Ductless range hoods are not equipped with any ducts or pipes to channel airborne particles outside the kitchen. Instead, they are designed with powerful exhaust fans to filter dirty air and smoke before blowing it back into the room. They use a recirculation process to improve your indoor air quality. A ductless range hood is more versatile compared to a ducted range hood as it can be installed anywhere. It also makes it easier to adjust your cooking canopy when doing a kitchen remodel. However, you may be required to replace your activated charcoal filter at least once or twice a year to increase the efficiency of your range hood.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Between a Ducted and Ductless Range Hood

Size and Flexibility

A range hood should be wide enough to capture emissions from all burners around your cooking area. If the range hood is too small, it will not eliminate all smoke and moisture from your kitchen. On the other hand, a range hood that is too large may not fit perfectly in your cooking canopy and can have a huge impact on your overall décor. A ductless range hood is more flexible than a ducted hood, as it can be installed anywhere.

Moisture and Heat Reduction

A ducted model releases moisture and other airborne particles outside the kitchen. This means that your kitchen will remain cooler and drier. A ductless range hood may filter the dirty air from your cooktop but your kitchen will retain the heat and moisture when the air is recirculated back to the room.


Ductless range hoods are designed with powerful fans and filters that capture airborne particles. Because of this reason, you may be forced to clean or change the filter periodically to maintain its performance. Ducted range hoods release all the smoke and odors to the outdoors instantly, which makes them easier to maintain than ductless models.

Level of Noise

Ductless range hoods need more power to operate, as they have to suck in dirty air through the filter before blowing it back into the kitchen. The rapid speed of the fans in ductless models produces a lot of noise. The fans installed in ducted range hoods operate quietly and more efficiently as they do not have to force dirty air through filters.

Ducted range hoods seem to work better based on the experience of professional chefs. Despite the many benefits of having a ducted range hood, some homeowners still choose ductless models because they offer high versatility in terms of location. Ductless hoods give you more options on how and where you can install them during a kitchen remodel, as you will not have to move ductwork around. It is important to consider both aesthetics and functionality when choosing the design of your range hood to suit your style and personal preferences.