Range Hood Reviews

Editor's note:
Broan is still a top choice for anyone who needs a well-performing, but still very affordable, under-cabinet range hood. NuTone is an even less-expensive, but still great pick. Kitchen Bath Collection and GE take the top spots for the best wall-mounted and island-style range hoods, respectively.
 
Broan Allure 1 Series
Specs that Matter
Fan speeds - 2Installation - ConvertibleSpeed range (CFM) - 110 - 220
Best Reviewed
Best under-cabinet range hood
Broan Allure 1 Series

For near ideal blend of performance, style and value, look first to the Broan Allure 1 Series. It's convertible for use in either ductless or ducted installations. Features include a two-speed fan and bright halogen lighting, and owners largely agree that it operates quietly. The Allure 1's five color options, including stainless steel, make it a fit for virtually any kitchen décor.

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Broan QS130SS 220 CFM Under Cabinet Hood, 30-Inches, Stainless Steel
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $174.90 $140.25   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
NuTone RL6200 Series
Specs that Matter
Fan speeds - 2Installation - DuctlessSpeed range (CFM) - Not rated
Best Reviewed
Cheap under-cabinet range hood
NuTone RL6200 Series

The NuTone RL6200 Series offers an economical choice for those on a tight budget or who just need a simple, ductless range hood. This under-cabinet range hood is easy to install, performs well, looks good and is relatively quiet. It comes in two widths, 24 and 30 inches, and four color, stainless steel, black, white and bisque.

Kitchen Bath Collection STL75-LED
Specs that Matter
Fan speeds - 3Installation - ConvertibleSpeed range (CFM) - 412 max.
Best Reviewed
Best wall-mounted range hood
Kitchen Bath Collection STL75-LED

Owners praise the Kitchen Bath Collection STL75-LED's attractive appearance, terrific performance and great value. This 30-inch stainless steel wall-mounted range hood can move air at a rate of 412 CFM, more than sufficient for most cooktops and ranges, and provides an array of features including touch control, bright LED lighting and a three speed fan. A 36-inch version is also available.

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Kitchen Bath Collection STL75-LED Stainless Steel Wall-Mounted Kitchen Range Hood with High-End LED Lights, 30"
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $199.99   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
GE Profile PV977NSS
Specs that Matter
Fan speeds - 4Installation - DuctedSpeed range (CFM) - 450 max.
Best Reviewed
Best island range hood
GE Profile PV977NSS

Well-featured, attractive and easy to use and clean, the GE Profile is a top choice, owners say, if you need an island-style range hood. This 450 CFM ducted range hood is reported as plenty powerful for keeping the kitchen grease- and smoke-free. It has four fan settings and dual halogen lights. The removable grease filters are dishwasher safe.

Range hoods for every kitchen and budget

A range hood is a necessity in virtually every kitchen. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, materials and colors, and can cost anywhere from less than $50 to more than $3,000, though the focus of this report is on great looking, excellent performing range hoods priced at under $1,000. What sets the cheapest range hoods apart from high end models is a combination of function and aesthetics.

There are two basic ways to install range hoods: non-ducted and ducted. Non-ducted hoods recirculate the air back into the kitchen after pulling it through a filter to remove, at least partially, smoke and odors. Ducted range hoods use a filter as well, but vent the exhaust to the outside. Ducted range hoods are more complicated and expensive to install, but are also the most effective kind.

Types of Range Hoods
Under-Cabinet Range Hoods

The most common type of range hood, under-cabinet range hoods are installed by attaching them to the underside of kitchen cabinets. They can be ducted or ductless. These range hoods usually come in a variety of color options to match any kitchen décor, and a variety of prices too -- although even the top-of-the-line models tend to be more affordable than either wall-mounted or island-style range hoods. Under-cabinet range hoods usually have at least two fan settings and at least a basic, incandescent light.

Wall-Mounted Range Hood

A wall-mounted range hood has a visible vent stack along the kitchen wall and is installed in settings where there are no cabinets above the cooktop. Also called chimney hoods, these units can be very stylish. Virtually all wall-mounted hoods are designed for ducted installation, but some can be converted to ductless use if needed.

Island Range Hoods

Island range hoods are similar to wall range hoods, except they look like they are free-standing above a cooktop. Again, virtually all island range hoods are ducted though many can also be used ductless if needed.

Choosing a range hood

When choosing the size of a range hood, under-cabinet and wall-mounted models need to be at least the same width as the cooktop. Island range hoods should be at least six inches wider than the cooktop to help funnel fumes because there are no walls or cabinets to help with the funneling.

When comparing range hoods that seem similar in form and function, there are some important specifications and features to watch for. One is power, measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute), which is a measure of the rate of speed in replacing air. The higher the CFM rating, the faster the range hood will draw away smoke and odor from the cooktop. The flip side of the coin is that the faster the range hood moves air, the louder it is likely to be.

Manufacturers will often provide a loudness rating, but will use different scales and that makes comparing noise levels difficult. Among the options, you may see sound levels specified in sones, db(A) or db. But regardless of the scale, user perception of noise is highly subjective. As we observed in user reviews for nearly all range hoods, models that some consider to be exceptionally quiet, others say are exceptionally loud. The bottom line is that while we do present the manufacturer's loudness level ratings (where available) for the range hoods profiled in this report, they should be taken with a grain (or perhaps a shaker) of salt.

On the features front, some range hoods have timer-delayed settings to turn the fan and lights off automatically. Others have a timer that lets the user know when it is time to clean the grease filters. Selectable fan speeds let the user adjust the power -- and noise level -- as appropriate. In its free to read buying guide, ConsumerReports.org suggests using the highest speed when cooking, and a lower speed afterwards "to continue to ventilate the space while eating." The editors add that three speeds should be sufficient, and anything over that is likely to be overkill on the part of the maker.

Finding The Best Range Hoods
Our Sources1. HomeDepot.com
Range Hoods2. Lowes.com
Range Hoods3. Amazon.com
Range HoodsSee All

During our research, we found no credible expert reviews of range hoods. ConsumerReports.org offers a buying guide that discusses brands, but not individual models. Instead, we relied on feedback posted at sites such as HomeDepot.com, Lowes.com, Amazon.com and elsewhere. That's complicated a little by the fact that many sites include reviews originally posted at the manufacturer web sites and are hence duplicated across the Internet. Still, between these reviews and unique user reviews posted at the sites we considered, we found sufficient feedback to evaluate and recommend some top range hoods based on their performance, ease of use and appearance.