Under-cabinet range hoods are used in kitchens where cabinets are located directly over the cooktop. This is a perfect place for a non-vented range hood because the hood can attach directly to the cabinets. For vented range hoods, the hood's ductwork can be routed through the cabinet, where it is out of sight, or directly out an exterior wall.
Broan-NuTone models are usually the top-rated range hoods with owners, and they make a variety of models in a wide variety of styles and price-points. One of the best is the Broan Allure 1 series (Est. $140 and up). These range hoods hit the sweet spot when it comes to performance, versatility and value. This is a convertible under-cabinet range hood, which means it can be installed either ducted or ductless. It's available in sizes ranging from 30 to 42 inches, and in five finishes: black, white, almond, bisque or stainless steel. Prices will vary somewhat depending upon size and color.
The Broan Allure 1 has two fan speeds. Its high speed is rated at 220 CFM (cubic feet per minute) at a noise level of 5 sones. At low speed, that drops to 110 CFM and 1.5 sones. Broan claims that this is 50 percent quieter than similar range hoods, and most owners agree that its quiet operation is a highlight. There are also two halogen bulbs for illuminating the cooking area, and users chime in that they are bright and effective. Ductless installation is described as easy, though for ductless use you'll need to spend extra for a pair of Broan BPSF charcoal filters (Est. $25 per pair). For ducted installation, three ducting options allow for installation flexibility and two dishwasher-safe, aluminum grease filters are included.
This is without a doubt the most highly-rated under range hood that we spotted anywhere -- and it's popular across retail sites, from Internet-only retailers like Amazon.com, to more traditional home-improvement outlets such as HomeDepot.com and Lowes.com. Owners say the Broan Allure 1 series easy to install and use, and very quiet for a range hood (most range hoods get plenty of complaints about how noisy they are), although there are a few dissenters -- and we always note that noise is often in the ear of the beholder. Nearly all praise its attractive appearance, and several happy owners post pictures of how nice this range hood looks in their kitchen. Best of all -- the Broan Allure 1 series has been around a long time and plenty of buyers say they were thrilled to find an exact replacement after theirs gave out after 10, 15 or more years. The only real complaint we spotted was that some wish the lights were brighter or there were more than two fan speeds.
For those on a tight budget, and where ductless installation is either preferred or necessary, the NuTone RL6200 Series (Est. $45 and up) is a great alternative. Also manufactured by Broan-NuTone, the models in the RL6200 series are basic, ductless, under-cabinet range hoods. Since they require no venting, they're very easy to install. NuTone does not rate its ductless fans for either CFMs (air movement) or sones (sound level).
The NuTone RL6200 Series is available in 24 and 30-inch sizes, and in four colors -- white, black, bisque and stainless steel. Features are scant, but there's a single 75 watt incandescent light (not included) to illuminate the cooking surface and a two-speed fan. The hood's charcoal filters are not washable; they must be replaced every 12 months with normal use, according to the Broan website using Broan-NuTone Replacement Filter 41F (Est. $15).
Regardless of size, color or review site, these NuTone ductless under-cabinet range hoods are a hit with owners, and are just as highly rated as their more expensive Broan Allure cousins. Owners praise these range hoods' value and durability -- we read a number of comments from people who are replacing an identical hood that's operated well for decades. They also say it's very easy to install, has an attractive, yet unobtrusive appearance, and they praise the bright light. Some say it seems cheap, of course, but it's not a high-end range hood and is not meant to be.