Is a Vented Stove Right for You? Comparing Vented and Non-Vented Range Hoods

Elisa Greenberg
Written by Elisa Greenberg
Updated January 31, 2023
kitchen hood with mosaic tile backsplash
Photo: PC Photography / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Highlights

  • Range hoods come in vented, non-vented, and convertible styles.

  • There are many options where you can install your range hood.

  • Consider price, design, materials, and more when choosing a range hood.

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Your kitchen is the heart of the home—it’s also a prime spot for grease buildup on your cabinets, walls, and ceilings. Luckily, a vented stove can keep your kitchen clean and fresh from smoke, oils, and potent foods. So, while you’re busy planning your next kitchen remodel or refresh, don’t forget to add a range hood to your checklist. Read on to learn the key differences between vented and non-vented range hoods.

What Is a Range Hood?

We’ve heard that every kitchen needs a range hood, but what exactly is it? Range hoods capture smoke and cooking grease through a fan or filter. Then, it exhausts the contaminated air directly outside through a vent duct or back inside your kitchen if you have a non-vented model. Naturally, a vented stove does a better job of eliminating polluted air and all of the grease, grime, and smoke that goes along with it—making your daily kitchen cleaning much easier. 

What’s the Difference Between Vented and Non-Vented Range Hoods?

Vented and non-vented range hoods help keep your kitchen fresh by removing contaminated air. The key differences between the two are in the name: the vented models connect to a vent duct, and the non-vented models are ductless, which means they do not filter the air to the outside. 

Vented Range Hood

Vented stoves suck all the grimy air out of your kitchen, filter the air through a duct, and expel it outside. Vented range hoods are typically larger than ductless models and cost more. In addition, range hood installations are challenging—so it’s a good idea to hire a range hood installer near you for this project.

Non-Vented Range Hood

On the flip side, non-vented range hoods are not connected to ducts. Instead, a non-vented range hood captures air through a charcoal filter and exhausts clean air back into your kitchen. While still effective at trapping grease, smoke, and odors, non-ducted range hoods are no match to the performance of vented stoves. Yet, non-vented range hoods are perfect for small kitchens or condos that can’t vent a hood to the outside. 

In addition to vented and non-vented range hoods, convertible range hoods are also available—these come in vented and non-vented styles, often containing conversion kits.

What Are the Types of Range Hoods?

5 types of range hoods, including wall-mounted and island ceiling-mounted
Photo: John Keeble/Moment, powerofforever/iStock, Thapakorn Rujipak/iStock, cmykphotog/iStock, Grace Cary/Moment / Getty Images

Range hoods come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and price points. The most common range hoods are wall-mounted, down-draft, under-cabinet, island, and microwave. Below we’ll discuss the features of each type:

Wall-Mounted Range Hood

The wall-mounted range hood probably comes to mind when you think of a vented stove. Wall-mounted range hoods are the most common type of vent—they are affixed to the wall directly over your stove in place of a cabinet. Wall-mounted range hoods are usually available in ducted and ductless styles.

Down-Draft System

You’ll find down-draft ventilation systems next to or behind a stovetop. They work by sucking polluted air into a floor duct and filtering it outside. Down-draft systems offer a clean, flush look because they can pop up when needed—otherwise, they can remain hidden. This system's downside is that it is less effective than overhead range hoods. 

Under-Cabinet Range Hood

You’ll typically mount under-cabinet range hoods to the bottom of a kitchen cabinet that sits directly over your stove. Under-cabinet range hoods usually extend halfway across the stove so they can easily capture steam, smoke, and grease and direct them away from the cabinet above. Most under-cabinet range hoods are available in vented and non-vented styles. 

Island Ceiling-Mounted Range Hood

Island ceiling range hoods mount to the ceiling above a detached kitchen island or a peninsula—an attached extension of your kitchen cabinets. These range hoods are typically large and encompass the entire cooktop, making it easy to suck up and discard fumes. Because they are so visual, you can add decorative lights and other features to give some oomph to your kitchen. And you can usually choose between vented and non-vented models.

Microwave 

Microwave range hoods are often installed underneath a cabinet and placed directly over the stove. They have a carbon filter and recirculate air either outside via a duct or back inside as recirculated air. Microwave ovens are great space savers. In terms of affordability, over-the-range microwaves are typically the most wallet-friendly. 

Vented Range Hood Pros and Cons

white kitchen with steel and gold range
Photo: bmak / Adobe Stock

While vented range hoods offer great air circulation and style, they may not be great for smaller spaces. 

Pros

  • Superior at capturing air, smoke, grease, oils, steam, and humidity

  • Reduces odors in the kitchen and house

  • Provides better air circulation and flow in the kitchen

  • Equipped with strong filters

  • Lots of choices for decorative elements

Cons

  • More expensive to install

  • You might lose a spot for a microwave

  • It might be too large for your space

  • It can be limiting if a duct can only go in certain areas of your kitchen

Non-Vented Range Hood Pros and Cons

white kitchen with non vented range hood
Photo: ChristopherBernard / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Non-vented range hoods offer great space-saving capabilities for condo buildings or smaller kitchens, but they aren’t as effective as sucking up polluted air as vented ranges.

Pros

  • Versatility—you can choose where to put it 

  • Ease of installation

  • Perfect for a limited renovation budget

Cons

  • Doesn’t circulate air as efficiently

  • Does not remove humidity from your kitchen

  • Requires more fan power—which can be louder than vented models

  • Filters need regular cleaning or replacing

Considerations When Buying a Range Hood

kitchen with white cabinets and blue backsplash
Photo: YinYang / iStock / Getty Images Plus

When choosing a vented or non-vented range hood, there are several factors to consider, including price, installation cost, size, design, noise level, materials, and more. 

Price

  • Non-vented models: Average $100–$300

  • Vented models: Average $100–$1,000

  • Convertible: Average $200–$1,000

Installation Cost

The typical cost to install a range hood runs between $400 and $1,500, with an average price of $750. The installation cost will vary depending on the type of range hood, materials, labor, and exhaust style. 

In addition, if your kitchen already doesn’t have a duct, you’ll need to hire the right ductwork contractor for the job. You can expect to pay an average of $85 per hour to install ductwork—on top of the $350 to route your duct outside or $260 to route your duct through the roof.

Size

When choosing the perfect range for your kitchen remodel, you’ll need to make sure you choose one that covers the entire area of your stove so it’s powerful enough to capture all of the smoke and oils. Purchase a range hood that's as wide as your cooktop and deep enough to cover at least half of the front and all back burners.

Design Features

Range hood design can truly make or break a kitchen’s aesthetic. In addition to offering stylish attributes, many range hoods feature LED lighting, variable fan speeds, dishwasher-safe filters, touch-panel details, and automatic shut-off. Shop around, and choose one that fits your look and lifestyle. 

CFM Specifications

Not all range hoods are created equal, and the power of your range hood will depend on its cubic feet of air moved per minute (CFM) requirements. Essentially, CFM measures how long it takes for captured air to pass through the range hood. For example, gas stoves heat up your kitchen more than electric stoves, so you’ll want to choose a higher CFM range hood for gas cooktops. Look for range hoods with a high CFM number, but with quiet operational features, so you don't have a large, noisy range hood.

Materials

Higher-priced materials will cost you more than standard materials, such as stainless steel, for your range hood. For example, copper-finished range hoods run between $250 and $12,500, and a glass range hood can cost up to $1,500.

Do I Need a Range Hood?

It’s safe to say that the range hood is your kitchen's star performer. So, yes, you need a range hood! Range hoods clean the air in your kitchen and capture grease and oils that can stain your cabinets, walls, and ceilings. 

If you like to cook regularly and whip up foods with odors like fish or steak, you’ll want to invest in a range hood. We also recommend range hoods for gas, electric, and induction stoves—these all produce smoke, grease, and heat. 

Finally, some municipalities require range hood installations in the kitchen. So it’s a good idea to check your local building codes before purchasing a range hood.

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